U.S. says 'intermediate step' of meeting in Brussels not necessary for Iran talks

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi visits the Bushehr nuclear power plant
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi visits the Bushehr nuclear power plant, in Iran, October 8, 2021. Official Presidential Website/Handout via REUTERS.

WASHINGTON, Oct 18 (Reuters) - The United States does not think talks in Brussels are necessary before the resumption of indirect negotiations with Iran on a return to the 2015 nuclear deal in Vienna, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Monday.

A senior EU official said last week Iran was not ready yet to return to actual talks with world powers over reviving its 2015 nuclear program and related U.S. sanctions but could discuss with the EU in Brussels texts from when negotiations ended in June. read more

After initially suggesting optimism that preparatory talks in the Belgian capital could take place soon, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell played down the possibility on Monday and dismissed Iranian reports of discussions planned for Thursday this week. read more

"To be clear, we do not think it is necessary," Price told reporters at a news briefing when asked about the possibility of a meeting in Brussels.

"The destination we seek is in Vienna, not an intermediate step in Brussels," he said, adding the United States its allies and partners involved in the Iran deal agreed that the indirect talks in Vienna "should resume as soon as possible."

Earlier on Monday, Iranian hardline President Ebrahim Raisi said Iran backs talks with six major powers that are result-oriented.

"We are serious about result-oriented negotiations...If Americans are serious, they should remove unjust sanctions on Iran," Raisi told state TV. read more

Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, Chris Gallagher and Simon Lewis; Editing by Chris Reese and Alistair Bell

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