| 4 March 2024, Monday |

Tehran open to nuclear talks on sidelines of UN general assembly

Tehran has left the door open for a revival of stalled nuclear negotiations, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York at the end of the coming month.

Nasser Kanaani, spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, stated during a weekly press conference on Monday that the “US government must prove itself as a trustworthy party for agreement and dialogue,” reiterating Iranian criticism of Washington’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Then President Donald Trump decided to withdraw from the pact and impose a policy of maximum pressure on Tehran.

Kanaani remarked that “the US has once again proven itself an unreliable party, and it must make up for violating commitments and demonstrate its credibility.”

The official also discussed progress in the prisoner swap deal with the US in return for releasing frozen Iranian assets in South Korean and Iraqi banks, expected to be completed within two months.

“Despite this understanding, we continue to witness provocative steps from the US to increase sanctions, as well as the seizure of Iranian oil shipments,” said Kanaani.

“These actions are inconsistent with the US messages for dialogue and agreement. The Americans must reconsider their approach towards Iran,” he added.

When asked about the possibility of Tehran and the parties to the nuclear agreement returning to the negotiating table on the sidelines of the General Assembly, Kanaani said direct negotiations with the parties to the agreement and indirect ones with the Americans were held on the sidelines of the UN meeting last year.

“Iran will not miss any diplomatic opportunity to lift the oppressive sanctions on the Iranian people, and this is one of the diplomatic priorities,” he stressed.

He made his remarks a week after he denied the possibility of Tehran engaging in direct talks with the US.

In other news, Iran summoned a Swiss diplomat over the apparent US seizure of Iranian crude oil from a ship that sat for months off Texas, as the oil now appeared to be moored in Houston.

“The subject of the seizure of an Iranian oil consignment by the US … is a completely unproductive action,” Kanaani said.

He said the US government was, on the one hand, expressing interest in direct talks to pave the way for a renewed nuclear deal and, on the other, was imposing new sanctions and seizing oil.


  • Asharq Al-Awsat