The United States will take part in indirect talks about the Iran nuclear deal with diplomats from Europe, Russia, and China next week, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.
“We have agreed to participate in talks with our European, Russian, and Chinese partners to identify the issues involved in a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA with Iran,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement, carried by Bloomberg.
Talks on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, will begin in Vienna on Tuesday, April 6, the State Department said.
The United States will not be talking directly to Iran, but senior officials from the other countries that signed the nuclear deal will take part in rounds of talks with Iranian officials.
“These remain early days, and we don’t anticipate an immediate breakthrough as there will be difficult discussions ahead. But we believe this is a healthy step forward,” the State Department’s spokesman Price added.
Talks are expected to “clearly identify sanctions lifting and nuclear implementation measures,” Price noted.
If these early talks lead at some point in the near future to some sort of an agreement and “sanction lifting,” Iranian crude oil could return legitimately on the global oil market.
Currently, the U.S. sanctions imposed by the Trump Administration are preventing Iran from exporting much of its oil, as many buyers around the world don’t want to risk their U.S. assets by doing business with Iran.
But others like China are openly defying the U.S. sanctions, and Beijing has been considerably boosting its oil imports from Iran in recent months.
A few days ago, China and Iran officially stated they would boost their energy and political cooperation as part of a 25-year strategic partnership agreement at a time when the U.S. is looking to sanction covert Iranian oil exports to China.
The Biden Administration warned China last month that it would not turn a blind eye to rising Iranian oil exports to Chinese ports, the Financial Times reported, citing a senior Biden administration official.