Iran to recommence nuclear talks by end of November


Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany will resume nuclear talks by the end of November, the end of their current six-month deadline, Reuters reported on Monday.

“This is a positive move, but we must have effective and full-scope verification of all the commitments agreed upon in July,” said French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, calling for a “real pause” to the race to settle the outstanding issues.

Negotiators from Iran, the U.S., the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China and Russia began making their final preparations for the next round of talks in New York on Monday.

The talks collapsed in July amid disagreements over how far President Donald Trump would back away from the 2015 nuclear deal Iran struck with world powers. To cut Iran’s nuclear program in half, the administration said it would withhold the $150 billion in Iranian assets the U.S. owes them. While the U.S. objected to some nuclear-related measures, such as Iran’s suspension of nuclear research, they agreed to the parameters of the deal.

Trump, who has decried the Iran deal as bad for U.S. interests, said in January that he was pulling out of the agreement in May unless European countries were willing to alter it. This is not the first time Iran has laid out a deadline for the deadline. The Associated Press reported earlier this month that Iranian officials revealed that the landmark nuclear accord would run out of time to be renegotiated by the end of April.

Iran has been giving the Trump administration more time to demonstrate that it is still committed to the deal, which was designed to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Since the United States pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal, the country has been stepping up its missile tests and moving faster toward producing more uranium. The country has continued to adhere to the 2015 accord while also increasing the amount of uranium it has added to storage.

The United States has pursued new enforcement measures to restrict Iranian activities in the Arab Gulf and in Lebanon, as well as a broader campaign to deter Iranian influence in the Middle East. Trump has repeatedly called for military actions to counter Iranian influence. In January, the president signed a national security directive that effectively revived use of force against Iran in the Middle East.

International leaders, who have urged the U.S. to stay in the nuclear deal, have given Iran a six-month grace period to comply with the terms of the agreement. They have insisted that the July deadline is the start of a 30-day period in which Iran can begin to draw down its nuclear stockpile. Tehran had previously announced that it would stop producing nuclear material in December.

The next round of talks on Iran is expected to take place on May 22.

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