By John Irish and Arshad Mohammed
PARIS/WASHINGTON, Feb 4 (Reuters) – The U.S., British, French and German foreign ministers are expected to discuss soon how to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal abandoned by former U.S. President Donald Trump, four sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, declined to say exactly when the high-level call would take place, though two said it could happen as early as on Friday and two others said it could be next week. It could also cover other issues.
Such a high-level conversation would be the latest step by new U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration to seek a way to revive the pact, under which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear activities so as to make it harder to develop an atomic bomb in return for relief from U.S. and other economic sanctions.
Iran has long denied any intent to develop nuclear arms.
Biden has said that if Tehran returned to strict compliance with the 2015 pact, Washington would follow suit and use that as a springboard to a broader agreement that might restrict Iran’s missile development and regional activities.
Tehran has insisted Washington ease sanctions before it will resume compliance but Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hinted on Monday at a way to resolve the impasse over who goes first by saying the steps could be synchronized.
While the U.S. State Department reacted coolly, a U.S. official said its stance should not be seen as a rejection.
The State Department declined comment on whether the four foreign ministers would meet virtually soon. The German and French foreign ministries, as well as the British embassy in Washington, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
(Reporting By John Irish in Paris and by Arshad Mohammed in Washington; Writing by Arshad Mohammed Editing by Mark Heinrich)