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U.S. would attend meeting with Iran and other powers if invited

Iran threatens to block nuclear inspectors
Iran threatens to block nuclear inspectors if U.S. does not lift sanctions 07:50

The Biden administration says that U.S. officials would attend a meeting with Iran if it is hosted by the European Union and attended by the world powers that signed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal: the European Union, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China. A State Department official said they were responding to an offer made via tweet by the EU political director to convene a meeting of the original parties to the agreement in order to "talk about the way forward in terms of Iran's nuclear program and dealing with Iran's nuclear program." 

In a letter Thursday, the U.S. also informed the United Nations Security Council that it was rescinding the previous administration's request to re-impose or snap back U.N. sanctions on Iran. The letter, penned by Acting U.S. Ambassador Richard Mills, states that the U.S. "withdraws" three letters from the Trump administration — effectively re-instating the sanctions relief of the 2015 nuclear deal. 

In addition, the U.S. lifted Trump-era travel restrictions on Iranian diplomats who are posted at the U.N. New York headquarters. 

These efforts are a bid to reintegrate the U.S. with its allies and bring the nation back in line with Russia, China, and Europeans in their approach to restricting Iran's nuclear development.

Though some Republicans have criticized these moves, a senior State Department official told reporters Thursday that the U.S. is not making "concessions to Iran." They are "concessions to common sense." 

"I think we've seen what four years of maximum pressure and not talking to Iran has yielded," the senior official said. But the official also conceded that returning both sides to compliance with the Iran nuclear deal won't be easy, predicting, 

"I assume this is going to be a painstaking and difficult process that is going to take some time."

At this point, the format of such a meeting and the location have not been determined.

There's also no word on whether Iran will attend. Senior State Department officials denied that the moves were meant to incentivize Iran from following through on a Tuesday deadline to block International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors from accessing facilities within the country. 

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