Iran reached a deal with the P5+1 to resume nuclear talks by the end of November.
European countries will seek an accord with Tehran that would give West more scrutiny of Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for easing sanctions, a deal that would give Tehran access to billions of dollars in assets blocked in overseas banks.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that European nations in the six-nation negotiating group have agreed to “initiate by the end of November” a process to address Iranian nuclear program issues.
“The president made clear that any deal must result in an effective Iran nuclear program while addressing Iran’s malign activities across the Middle East and terrorist support for violence and terror in our region and beyond,” Pompeo said in a statement.
The details of the agreement are still being worked out. Reuters reports that European countries are due to meet in Vienna to reach a similar accord on April 20.
Iran has said it will not suspend its uranium enrichment program or accept limits on its other atomic activity. The goal of talks is to persuade Iran to agree to a large joint project to produce nuclear fuel, in return for a loosening of UN Security Council sanctions.
“If it’s useful for the Iranians to cooperate with us and prove to us in various ways that their program is peaceful, then we’ll need that cooperation,” Pompeo said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“But if Iran is continuing to lie, cheat and deceive us and they want to be able to go it alone and they continue to enrich uranium, they continue to stockpile material to be able to construct a nuclear weapon, then there are many aspects in which we’d walk away from a deal and provide our leverage in a better way.”
The New York Times reports that Tehran might have to maintain its level of uranium enrichment for at least 10 years in exchange for sanctions relief.
The negotiations come as U.S. President Donald Trump faces pressure from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for the administration to back away from its sanctions on Iran.
After withdrawing from the international nuclear agreement in May, Trump announced the U.S. would reimpose sanctions on Iran’s entire oil industry. The White House has said the allies have until Oct. 15 to halt the importing of Iranian oil.
‘We can accomplish this together with Iran’
“We have heard Iranian leaders repeatedly state that they are prepared to walk away from the current agreement with the United States and sign a better deal,” Pompeo said. “We can accomplish this together with Iran.”
Last week, Pompeo said Iran is still complying with its part of the 2015 nuclear agreement, which was reached after a comprehensive six-year effort.
“The international community’s assessments of Iranian compliance with the JCPOA have been unanimous and consistent,” Pompeo said during a meeting with fellow Cabinet members. “Iran is fully in compliance with the JCPOA.”
But some European officials, including France’s foreign minister, have said the inspections provisions of the pact are insufficient.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.