Paris/Washington, February 19
The United States (US) on Thursday said it was ready to talk to Iran about both nations returning to a 2015 agreement that aimed to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons, seeking to revive a deal that Washington itself abandoned nearly three years ago.
The move reflects the change in the US administration, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressing President Joe Biden’s position that Washington would return to the accord formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) if Tehran came into full compliance with the deal.
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Mohammad Javad Zarif, in a tweet, firmly reiterated Tehran’s position on Washington’s offer to revive talks. reuters
Iran reacted coolly to the idea, put forward by Blinken during a video meeting with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany, a group known as the E3, gathered in Paris.
Iran began breaching the deal in 2019, about a year after former US President Donald Trump withdrew and reimposed US economic sanctions, and has accelerated its breaches in recent months. A US official said Washington would respond positively to any European Union invitation to talks between Iran and the six major powers who negotiated the original agreement — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US.
It is unclear whether any talks might occur, let alone when or where.
Responding to the four nations’ statement, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Washington should make the first move. “Instead of sophistry & putting onus on Iran, E3/EU must abide by own commitments & demand an end to Trump’s legacy of #EconomicTerrorism against Iran,” Zarif said in a tweet. “Our remedial measures are a response to US/E3 violations. Remove the cause if you fear the effect,” he continued.
Meanwhile, several top US Republican lawmakers have introduced more than 12 Bills in the Congress to counter the growing Chinese influence in the country and to protect America’s critical infrastructure. The relations between the US and China are at an all-time low.
Separately, Senator Rick Scott reintroduced the Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act, sponsored by Congressman Guy Reschenthaler in the House of Representatives, to protect Taiwan from Communist China’s growing aggression. China views Taiwan as a rebel province and says it must be reunified with the mainland, even by force. — Agencies
It’s official: US back in Paris climate club
The US officially rejoined the Paris climate agreement on Friday, reinvigorating the global fight against climate change as the Biden administration plans drastic emission cut over the next three decades. Scientists and foreign diplomats have welcomed the US return to the treaty, which became official 30 days after Biden ordered the move on his first day in office. reuters