Iran is ready to resume negotiations with the six major powers before the end of November on its nuclear program, the new foreign minister said on Monday, in response to the U.S. reimposing sanctions on Tehran this week.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters in Tehran: “The resumption of the talks and negotiations will probably be announced and put in place before the end of November.”
Iran has agreed to suspend some of its key nuclear activities in exchange for an easing of most international sanctions since 2015, when President Hassan Rouhani took office promising to restore peace and cooperation with the world after the 35-year rule of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The West fears Iran is seeking to develop a nuclear bomb, a charge Tehran denies. It has conducted numerous ballistic missile tests as part of its missile program, which the United States has harshly criticized.
EU officials say there is an effort under way to find a way to allow the suspended nuclear program to continue and allow the economic damage from sanctions to be recouped.
The six powers involved in talks with Iran — the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — have been talking for months with lawmakers and diplomats to find a way to keep the sanctions suspended while trying to find a way to put pressure on Iran.
Britain’s foreign minister, Jeremy Hunt, told reporters on Monday that European powers were determined to keep “maintaining the momentum for positive change in Iran and that means keeping all avenues open, including ongoing talks between the EU and Iran over the possibility of suspending nuclear work.”
A spokesman for the French foreign ministry confirmed there were talks under way about Iran’s future in the nuclear dispute.
“There are contacts in order to continue continuing the negotiations over a final solution,” the spokesman said.
Asked about a report that Iranian scientists had installed some new centrifuges in Iran, the spokesman said Paris was open to “the possibility to resume with Iran all past agreements … and to restart in the near future those that are suspended.”
Last week, Iran announced it had deployed new centrifuges at its main enrichment plant, a step it said meant it was finally ready to start producing uranium on its own.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is travelling in Asia, told reporters that the U.S. position on Iran had not changed since the Obama administration and that Trump would stay in the nuclear deal “if Iran shows itself to be at all reasonable in its behavior.”