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The USA responds to Iran's demands to lift sanctions

Iran's requests to the United States to lift sanctions are “maximalist” and unconstructive and the steps should be mutual, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said at a briefing.

“I don't think that calling on the U.S. to make a unilateral gesture ... that doesn't have a corresponding action from Iran is constructive,” Price said when asked if the U.S. is considering lifting all anti — Iran sanctions as required by Tehran.

“We rule out maximalist demands that the United States will do everything first,” a State Department official said. He stressed that the ongoing consultations in Vienna are an important step towards identifying “constructive” and adequate steps that are necessary for the return of both sides, Iran and the United States, to the implementation of the JCPOA, and "maximalist", in his words, the requirements “will not lead anywhere”.

Earlier, the US administration noted that in order to resume work on the JCPOA, Iran and the US must return to fulfilling the terms of the agreement. “We will have to lift sanctions that do not comply with the terms of the JCPOA,” a State Department official said.

On Tuesday, Vienna hosted a meeting of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) commission on the Iranian nuclear program at the level of political directors. The US State Department's Special Envoy for Iran, Rob Malley, arrived in Vienna from the US, but there are no direct contacts between the US and Iranian representatives at the meeting. The negotiators remain in Vienna, the next meeting of the joint commission, as the representative of Iran, told the media, is scheduled for Friday.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action concluded in 2015 by the “six” (Great Britain, Germany, China, Russia, the United States, France) and Iran, which provides for the lifting of sanctions in exchange for limiting Iran's nuclear program as a guarantor of Tehran's non-receipt of nuclear weapons, did not last even three years: in May 2018, US President Donald Trump decided to unilaterally withdraw and restore tough sanctions against Tehran.

Iran in 2019 — exactly one year after the US withdrawal from the deal — announced a phased reduction of its obligations under the agreement, abandoning restrictions on nuclear research, centrifuges, and the level of uranium enrichment. At the end of 2020, Iran adopted the law “Strategic Measure to lift sanctions”, which provides for the intensification of nuclear activities in order to achieve the lifting of sanctions against the country. In accordance with the law, the Iranian nuclear scientists have already brought uranium enrichment to the level of 20% (the nuclear deal involves enrichment at the level of 3.67%), and have also limited the IAEA's inspection capabilities since February 23. The law requires the use of more powerful centrifuges.

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