“Iranian polity is vibrant officials express diverse opinions. But those opinions should NOT be confused with state policy,” Zarif tweeted in response on Friday.
“As Iran’s FM chief nuclear negotiator, I will shortly present our constructive plan of action — through proper diplomatic channels,” he said.
In 2018, the administration of former US President Donald Trump unilaterally walked out of the 2015 international agreement, which placed strict limits on Iran’s nuclear program. Iran has responded by publicly violating the deal, enriching uranium and assembling centrifuges beyond the limits permitted by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
US officials have also accused Iran of at least indirectly enabling attacks by its proxy forces in the region on Saudi Arabia and US and international coalition forces in Iraq, in addition to sabotaging oil tankers in the Persian Gulf in 2019. Iran has denied responsibility for such incidents.
The conflicting signs from Zarif and Rezai came one day after Reuters cited two anonymous European diplomatic sources as saying Tehran had sent “positive signals” about the potential for future direct negotiations over the last few days. One source told Reuters that Western negotiators were aiming to start talks before the Iranian new year on March 20.
Yet Tehran continues to demand guarantees of pathways to sanctions relief before participating in the talks, something US officials so far reportedly remain reluctant to do.