Washington recently accused Tehran of taking a “step back” after months of indirect discussions.
Iran has said it would consider a meeting to discuss reviving the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers on the sidelines of a United Nations summit in New York, after several US officials suggested a deal was still a long way off despite calls. lengthy negotiations through European mediators.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani spoke of a possible meeting on Monday, saying several days of events at the UN General Assembly in the Big Apple could provide an opportunity for Iranian officials to meet with other negotiators. .
“Ali Bagheri Kani, the chief nuclear negotiator, will be present at the… General Assembly as part of the delegation, but there is no specific plan to discuss the nuclear deal.” Kanaani said, but added “However, I do not rule out the possibility of talks on the nuclear deal.”
Although the FM spokesman said any direct talks with US officials were out of the question, he suggested that talks with European brokers could take place on the sidelines of the UNGA, as foreign negotiators have shuttled proposals between Washington and Tehran for several months.
So far, those talks have failed to produce an agreement. Former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018, reimposing all previous sanctions and subsequently introducing additional sanctions. Iran has long pushed for sanctions relief, conditioning any return to the nuclear pact on the lifting of economic sanctions, though other issues, such as the blacklisting of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of Tehran, have complicated discussions.
Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Iran was focused on “strange issues” and accused the country of taking “one step back” in negotiations, adding that any close team deal was «improbable.» Similar pessimism has been reflected in recent comments from other officials, with State Department spokesman Ned Price saying in August that Iran was doing “unacceptable demands”.
Yet despite those charges, Kanaani insisted his country never left the negotiating table and was still willing to find a way back to the deal.
In an interview with CBS broadcast on Sunday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi reiterated that Tehran is willing to return to the nuclear deal as long as Washington provides sufficient guarantees that it will not withdraw from the deal again, saying “If it’s a good deal and a fair deal, we would be serious about reaching an agreement.”
The first day of high-level general debate at the UNGA summit began on Tuesday, with world leaders addressing the world body on a range of issues, including food security, the ongoing war in Ukraine, climate change and economic problems.