US says it is willing to sit down for talks with Iran and other nations on nuclear deal

“The United States would accept an invitation from the European Union High Representative to attend a meeting of the P5+1 and Iran to discuss a diplomatic way forward on Iran’s nuclear program,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement Thursday. The P5+1 refers to the permanent members of the UN Security Council — China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States — and Germany.

A senior State Department official said they saw move toward discussions as “the right next step.”

It is unclear if the Iranians would accept such an overture, a State Department official told reporters Thursday, nor has a meeting been scheduled.

The political director of the European External Action Service on Thursday said he was “ready to invite (the Iran nuclear deal participants and the US) to an informal meeting to discuss the way forward” on the deal.

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It was one of several efforts by the administration unveiled Thursday in an effort to lay the groundwork for diplomacy on the deal, which the US abandoned under the Trump administration.

The administration informed the UN Security Council that it was reversing the Trump administration’s unilateral efforts to snapback UN sanctions on Iran. It is lifting travel restrictions placed on Iranian diplomats to the United Nations by the Trump administration that limited the foreign envoys to their missions and the grounds of the UN in New York City.

A second senior State Department official said Thursday the US was removing the travel restraints to facilitate diplomacy to revive the faltering international agreement about Iran’s nuclear program.

“The idea here is to take steps to remove unnecessary obstacles to multilateral diplomacy by amending the restrictions on domestic travel,” the senior official said. “Those have been extremely restrictive.

The Biden administration will return to earlier practice, which is to give diplomats from countries such as Iran and North Korea a limited latitude to travel within and around New York.

“Essentially this just reverses the last administration’s imposition of additional travel restrictions and returns the domestic travel controls on Iranian representatives back in line with those of several other missions to the UN and that’s just to return to our long standing posture that we’ve had with regard to the domestic travel of Iranian representatives at the UN,” the official said.

The moves coming following a meeting between Secretary of State Tony Blinken and his French, German and British counterparts — the E3 — earlier in the day ahead of Iran’s expected move to curb short-notice nuclear inspections next week.

This story is breaking and will be updated.