Iran stakes out all-or-nothing position in nuclear gambit

“No step-by-step plan is being considered. The definitive policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is the lifting of all US sanctions,” said foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh

By World Israel News Staff and AP

Speaking with the state-owned Press TV outlet on Saturday, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh clarified Tehran’s opposition to any Iranian concessions prior to the United States easing all sanctions.

“No step-by-step plan is being considered,” said Khatibzadeh. “The definitive policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is the lifting of all U.S. sanctions.”

The Iranian spokesman issued the remarks after the U.S. State Department said future negotiations with Tehran would outline “the nuclear steps that Iran would need to take in order to return to compliance” with the 2015 nuclear agreement that the U.S. exited in 2018.

The United States and Iran said Friday they will begin indirect negotiations next week. Iran has been steadily violating its restrictions ever since then-President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the accord in 2018.

Also on Saturday, France’s top diplomat spoke with his Iranian counterpart and urged Iran to be “constructive” and avoid further nuclear escalation ahead of EU-brokered talks next week aimed at trying to resuscitate the nuclear accord.

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Diplomats from Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and Iran will take part in Tuesday’s EU talks in Vienna. Those six countries have remained in the accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which bound Iran to nuclear restrictions in return for relief from U.S. and international sanctions.

Israel has produced evidence that Iran never abandoned its program to develop nuclear weapons.

In addition to its nuclear aspirations, the Islamic Republic also funds and trains terror proxies that destabilize the region, including feuding factions in the Gaza Strip, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria, and the Houthis in Yemen.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian spoke Saturday with Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif to prepare for the talks.

“I encouraged Iran to be constructive,” Le Drian said in a statement. “I called on Iran to abstain from any further violation of its current commitments in the nuclear domain that could threaten the movement toward resumed discussions.”

President Joe Biden came into office saying that getting back into the nuclear accord and getting Iran’s nuclear program back under international restrictions was a priority for his U.S. administration.

Iran wants all sanctions to be lifted first.