President Hassan Rouhani (R) and the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi inspecting a nuclear plant, Tehran, April 9, 2019
UPDATE, APRIL 3:
After agreeing to indirect talks with the US, Iran has renewed its tough line rejecting a “sequenced” approach to the 2015 nuclear deal.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh reiterated:
As has been clearly stated many times, no step-by-step plan is being considered.
The definitive policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is the lifting of all US sanctions, whether those which [Donald] Trump reimposed after withdrawing from the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] or those which he initiated, as well as sanctions imposed under any other heading.
UPDATE, 1655 GMT:
Shifting its position, Iran has agreed to public, indirect talks with the US over the 2015 nuclear deal
Both American and Iranian delegations will be in Vienna, Austria from Tuesday. Intermediaries from the European Union and other 5+1 Powers will pursue a road map for a “sequenced” agreement, linking the removal of US sanctions to Iran’s return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: The European Union has announced a Friday meeting Iran and the remaining 5+1 Powers (UK, France, China, Germany, and Russia) in the 2015 nuclear deal.
The Biden Administration welcomed the announcement and said it is ready to take “mutual steps” to return to the nuclear deal after Donald Trump’s withdrawal in May 2018.
The EU said the meeting will discuss the possible American re-entry and “how to ensure the full and effective implementation of the agreement by all sides”.
Last month, the European Union invited Iran to informal talks with the US. The Biden Administration, through the Europeans and other channels, have offered discussions on a “sequenced” approach in which the US will lift sanctions as Tehran returns to compliance with the deal’s provisions.
The Rouhani Government rejected both initiatives, demanding the full removal of the sanctions before public discussions are opened.
President Hassan Rouhani maintained the line on Thursday:
“Those who are discussing who should return to their obligations first, Iran or the United States, should know that it was Iran that adhered to all its obligations one year after the withdrawal of the United States.
Today, after 3 years, we announce that once the Americans return to fulfilling their obligations, Iran will immediately fulfil all its obligations as well.
Iran Launches More Uranium Centrifuges
Friday’s meeting comes as the International Atomic Energy Agency has announced Tehran’s further suspension of the deal’s provisions.
The IAEA said Iran has begun enriching uranium with a fourth cascade of advanced IR-2m centrifuges at its Natanz plant.
Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran limited itself to IR-1 centrifuges.
But from June 2019, in response to the US sanctions, the Rouhani Government began its suspension of compliance. It resumed research, development, and installation of the advanced centrifuges. In January, Iran returned to its pre-2015 production of 20% uranium, which potentially can be further enhanced to more than 90%.
In February, Iran withdrew from the Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, restricting IAEA “snap” inspections of nuclear facilities. The Iranians is also withholding videotapes of the IAEA’s monitoring of the plants.