Top Iran diplomat calls for lifting of sanctions, days before Vienna nuclear talks

FILE PHOTO: The Iranian flag flies in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria May 23, 2021. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

(Reuters) -Iran wants the verifiable lifting of economic sanctions it is under, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Friday, three days before nuclear talks resume in Vienna.

Monday’s indirect talks between the United States and Iran, with the participation of major powers, aim at bringing the two countries into full compliance with a 2015 deal. Washington abandoned the accord in 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran.

“If the opposing sides are prepared to return to their full obligations and the lifting of sanctions, a good and even immediate agreement can be reached,” Amirabdollahian said in a telephone conversation with the European Union's foreign policy chief, Joseph Borrell.

“Iran wants a good and verifiable agreement,” Iranian media quoted Amirabdollahian as saying.

Separately, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Eslami, said the Vienna talks will not be about "nuclear issues", but rather about the United States' return to the 2015 nuclear deal, Iranian media reported.

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi said on Wednesday following a trip to Tehran this week that he had made no progress on several disputes, the most pressing of which was getting access to the workshop at the TESA Karaj complex two months after Iran promised to grant it.

The workshop makes components for centrifuges, machines that enrich uranium, and was hit by apparent sabotage in June in which one of four IAEA cameras there was destroyed. Iran removed the cameras and the destroyed camera's footage is missing.

"We are close to the point where I would not be able to guarantee continuity of knowledge," Grossi said.

However, Amirabdollahian told Borrell that Iran would attend the Vienna talks in “good faith” - despite the U.S. violation of the 2015 agreement.

(Reporting by Dubai NewsroomEditing by Frances Kerry and Alistair Bell)

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