Pompeo says Iran agrees to resume nuclear talks by end of November

Written by Staff Writer

New US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks with US Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley and former US President Donald Trump adviser Jared Kushner at Trump’s Southern Club in New York on November 1, 2017. EPA

Iran has agreed to resume nuclear talks before the end of November, the United States’ top diplomat said Sunday, a day after President Donald Trump decided to pull out of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran.

Mike Pompeo also said Iran was under more pressure now than under former President Barack Obama’s administration, and he indicated that the Trump administration was interested in pursuing another type of nuclear deal with Iran.

Pompeo met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif Sunday in Geneva, the Iranian foreign ministry said.

The meeting took place ahead of a Tuesday deadline set by Trump to determine whether the Iran nuclear deal should be reworked, given “the dangers posed by the Iranian regime.”

The Iran nuclear deal has come under “unprecedented pressure and economic sanctions,” Pompeo said in a speech.

When the United States withdrew from the agreement in May, it left key details about the status of the deal hanging, including how future sanctions would be calculated.

In his speech, Pompeo warned of more Iranian sanctions, but also suggested a “third way” to deal with the Iranian regime.

“With renewed international focus on Iranian malign activity and Iranian obstructionism, we believe that the remaining international community has the opportunity, the imperative and the core legitimacy to address the Iranian regime’s own destabilizing activities, including their ballistic missiles and malign activities in the Middle East,” he said.

“A continued spiral toward conflict cannot be allowed, and I would speak to members of the Congress and to Americans across the country about the necessity for us to take on and contain the Iranian Quds Force.”

In November 2017, Iran and six world powers reached an agreement over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program allowed the lifting of UN-related sanctions and most US sanctions. In exchange, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions.

The agreement was endorsed by a resolution at the UN Security Council, which insists that Iran is not under a nuclear weapons program and is committed to the JCPOA.

It was also a major foreign policy achievement for Obama’s administration.

The deal survived Trump’s dramatic campaign-style speech in which he used incendiary language and repeatedly insisted on “unflinching” US leadership on the world stage.

After his withdrawal, Trump issued a 90-day ultimatum to the European Union and its signatories to renegotiate the Iran nuclear deal.

EU officials, who signed the agreement under Obama, have suggested that the United States may have violated the terms of the agreement.

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