U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that he had spoken with his Russian counterpart about restoring Iran's nuclear deal and that the issue is of mutual concern to the United States and Russia.
"We had an opportunity to compare notes on where we stand and where we hope to go," Blinken said at a Paris news conference.
After the discussion, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that talks to restore the deal "should be resumed as soon as possible." The global community wants the U.S. to “return to the obligations of the nuclear deal” and halt "illegal restrictions on Iran and all of its trading partners," he said.
After meeting with Lavrov in Moscow, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Wednesday, "We are now finalizing consultations on this matter and will soon restore our negotiations in Vienna."
U.S. President Biden has indicated a willingness to reenter the pact, but Blinken said last week that time was running short to work out details with Iran.
The 2015 agreement between Iran, Germany, China, France, Russia, Britain and the U.S., known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), provided Iran with relief from sanctions in exchange for limits on its nuclear program.
Then-President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018 and began unilaterally ratcheting up sanctions on Iran as he criticized the deal for not doing enough to stop objectionable Iranian behavior. Iran retaliated a year later by exceeding the JCPOA's nuclear activity limits.
Some information for this report comes from AFP, AP and Reuters.