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Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at Iran/EU talks in 2015. Photo: Carlos Barria/POOL/AFP via Getty

A spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that conditions are not ripe for informal nuclear talks between Iran, the U.S. and other world powers.

Why it matters: The Biden administration had proposed the talks as part of its efforts to negotiate a path back to the 2015 nuclear deal. The White House expressed disappointment with Iran's response, but said it remained willing to engage with Tehran.

What they're saying:

  • “There has been no change in the U.S. position and behavior yet, and the Biden administration has not only not abandoned Trump's failed policy of maximum pressure, but has not even announced its commitment to fulfilling its overall commitments as part of the nuclear deal," said Iranian spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh.
  • He added Iran won't re-negotiate the nuclear deal and reiterated Iran's longstanding insistence that the U.S. start the process by removing sanctions.
  • "While we are disappointed at Iran’s response, we remain ready to reengage in meaningful diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to compliance with the nuclear deal commitments," a White House spokesman said.
  • "We will be consulting with our P5+1 partners on the best way forward," the spokesman added, referring to the other parties to the nuclear deal: China, Russia, the U.K., France and Germany.

Between the lines: The Iranian response to the U.S. proposal seems to be connected to a diplomatic effort by the U.S. and European signatories to pass a resolution against Iran at an upcoming meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

  • The resolution is expected to criticize Iran for curtailing the access of nuclear inspectors.

The state of play: The Biden administration says it'll return the U.S. to the 2015 deal by lifting sanctions if Iran returns to compliance by reversing its recent nuclear steps. The main sticking point is the sequencing of those moves.

Go deeper

Feb 27, 2021 - World

Iran reports internet disruption following anti-government protests

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The southeastern region of Iran on Saturday reported internet disruptions following demonstrations against Monday's fatal border shootings, AP reports.

The big picture: Iran has a history of suppressing freedom of speech, association and assembly, according to Amnesty International. Internet blackouts are now common around the world when power hangs in the balance, Axios' Dave Lawler and Sara Fischer write.

Feb 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

"Be careful": Biden says U.S. airstrike in Syria sent warning to Iran

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that Thursday night's airstrikes against facilities tied to an Iranian-backed militia group in Syria were meant to warn Iran that it "can't act with impunity."

Driving the news: The Pentagon said the strikes, which were authorized by Biden, were carried out "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq" and were intended to "de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq."

Chauvin trial leaves cities, activists across America on edge

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The impact of the Derek Chauvin trial is reverberating far beyond the walls of the downtown Minneapolis courtroom.

The state of play: With the trial set to enter its third week, activists across America are watching the proceedings unfold with heavy skepticism that what they perceive as justice will be served.

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