15:56 GMT16 April 2021
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    The Biden administration voiced its intention to return the United States to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as nuclear deal with Iran, an accord that Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, unilaterally exited in 2018.

    The White House on Sunday said that it is disappointed over Iran's rejection of an invitation to attend direct talks over the nuclear deal with the United States and European powers, Reuters reported, citing administration officials.

    Washington is, however, reportedly “ready to reengage in meaningful diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to compliance with [the deal's] commitments.”

    "We will be consulting with our P5+1 partners on the best way forward," a spokesperson said, referring to the six other signatories; China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, the European Union and Germany.

    Earlier on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh stated that Iran does not consider the time to be "suitable" for an informal meeting over the nuclear deal.

    "There has still been no change in the US positions and behaviour yet," he added, outlining the the Biden administration has continued "Trump's failed policy of maximum pressure".

    As the White House expressed its intention to revive US participation in the nuclear deal, it also demanded that Tehran return to its commitments under the 2015 accord, which the Islamic republic began to step away from in 2019 after Trump's withdrawal.

    Tehran, however, insisted that Washington take the first step by scrapping economic sanctions against the country.

    "America must end its illegal and unilateral sanctions and return to its (deal) commitments. This needs neither negotiations nor resolutions", Khatibzadeh stressed in his statement.

    The JCPOA was penned in 2015, envisaging Tehran scaling back its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

    Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the JCPOA in 2018, citing alleged violations by Iran - something that Tehran has denied. After the US exited from the deal, the Islamic republic stepped away from its commitments, prompting criticism and allegations that the country was trying to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran has consistently stated that its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.

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    Tags:
    Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), sanctions, Iran, US
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