Despite fierce denunciations of the "US hegemon" for its using sanctions as a "new means of war" by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in his first international address before the UN General Assembly earlier in the week, Iran on Friday said it will return to Vienna nuclear negotiations "very soon" - but without giving a date.
This after repeat warnings from the Biden administration that its patience will only last so long, while blaming the Iranians for stalling in the wake of Raisi's election. New Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told a press briefing on Friday that "The Islamic Republic of Iran will return to the table of negotiations. We are reviewing the Vienna negotiations files currently and, very soon, Iran’s negotiations with the 'four plus one' countries will recommence."
Biden in his own speech before the UNGA said that he's offering a full return to the deal "if Iran does the same".
Interestingly, and despite Raisi reported to be stacking his foreign ministry with 'hardliners' (in comparison to the Rouhani administration and former FM Javad Zarif), there were sideline conversations between the Iranians and Saudis at the UN meeting this week.
The dialogue appeared centered on Yemen, where Iran-backed Houthis are fighting the technologically superior Saudi military alliance:
Speaking on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, the foreign minister also described conversations between Iranian and Saudi officials as "constructive" and he said Tehran had put forward dynamic proposals towards achieving peace in Yemen.
Meanwhile, Raisi's newly appointed negotiating team is expected to hold a firmer line compared to the prior "moderates" under former president Rouhani:
A seasoned Iranian diplomat, who was a member of Iran's nuclear negotiations team in the 2010s under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, says new appointments at the Foreign Ministry signal a tougher negotiating posture in nuclear talks.
Washington has in a slow, piecemeal way already relaxed some Trump-era sanctions on Iran, but it's been Tehran's consistent position that a restored JCPOA deal is not possible unless an immediate full rollback is in effect.