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Iran’s uranium enrichment not conductive to talks - Biden

So far, the US delegation has held meetings with all participants of the negotiation process in Vienna, except Iran

WASHINGTON, April 17. /TASS/. Iran’s decision to start enriching uranium to 60% is not conductive to talks about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, US President Joe Biden said on Friday.

"We do not support and do not think it’s at all helpful that Iran is saying it’s going to move to enrich to 60% It is contrary to the agreement," Biden said at a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

Commenting on nuclear deal consultations that the five negotiators (Germany, France, the United Kingdom, China and Russia) are conducting with Iran in Vienna, the US leader said: "I think it’s premature to make a judgement as to what the outcome will be, but we’re still talking."

So far, the US delegation has held meetings with all participants of the negotiation process, except Iran.

"We are, though, nonetheless pleased that Iran has continued to agree to engage in discussions, in direct discussions with us and with our partners on how we move forward and what is needed to allow us to move back into the JCPOA, and so that we are a part of it again - that we should have never gotten out of, in my view - without us making concessions that we’re just not willing to make," Biden said.

On Thursday, the JCPOA Joint Commission discussed prospects for the United States’ possible return to the deal and ways of ensuring full and efficient implementation of the Iran nuclear deal by the all the parties to it. Informal discussions were continued on Friday in various formats, including at an expert level. Russia’s Permanent Representative to the Vienna-based international organizations Mikhai Ulyanov said Iran was still not ready for direct talks with the US.

The JCPOA, also known as the Iran nuclear deal, was signed between Iran, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (Russia, the United Kingdom, China, the United States and France) and Germany in 2015. Under the deal, Iran undertook to curb its nuclear activities and place them under total control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in exchange of abandonment of the sanctions imposed previously by the United Nations Security Council, the European Union and the United States over its nuclear program.

The future of the deal was called in question after the United States’ unilateral pullout in May, 2018 and Washington’s unilateral oil export sanctions against Teheran. Iran argued that all other participants, Europeans in the first place, were ignoring some of their own obligations in the economic sphere, thus making the deal in its current shape senseless. This said, it began to gradually scale down its commitments under the deal.