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US welcomes Iran meeting, says ready for ‘mutual steps’

The United States on Thursday welcomed a meeting announced by the European Union with Iran and said it was ready to take “mutual steps” to return to a nuclear deal.

“We obviously welcome this as a positive step,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

The European Union announced virtual talks Friday of the nations that remain in the 2015 deal — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and Iran — in anticipation of a US return.

President Joe Biden supports the agreement that was trashed by his predecessor Donald Trump but the new administration has insisted that Iran first return to full compliance.

“We are ready to pursue a return to compliance with our JCPOA commitments consistent with Iran also doing the same,” Price said, using the acronym for the deal’s formal name.

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The United States is speaking to partners “about the best way to achieve this, including through a series of initial mutual steps,” Price said.

“We’ve been looking at options for doing so, including with indirect conversations through our European partners,” he said, with the Biden administration yet to meet directly with Tehran.

Iran wants the United States to end sanctions imposed by Trump before it rolls back measures away from full compliance that it took in protest.

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