Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A strike by Iranian artisans in December caused by lack of supplies is blamed on sanctions
Iran has agreed to resume negotiations about its nuclear programme, says EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
She announced the move at a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Iran reached a landmark nuclear deal with six world powers in 2015, agreeing to limit its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of international sanctions.
But Tehran has maintained its nuclear programme is peaceful and the country has accused the US of breaching the agreement.
Tensions between the two countries have recently escalated over the sanctions issue.
In July, the US reimposed sanctions on Tehran, which banned trade in most metals, corn, raw and semi-finished metals and coal.
Iran has also repeatedly accused the US of breaching the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), saying that no commitments had been given in return for the lifting of sanctions.
Earlier this month, the European Union decided to renew waivers on existing sanctions against Iran, after Tehran threatened to break out of the nuclear deal if new restrictions were imposed.
“I had the opportunity to discuss a positive track for restarting the negotiations on the implementation of the JCPOA,” the statement said, according to Reuters news agency.
“We agreed to work together to re-establish the basis for a comprehensive dialogue which will be the basis for new negotiations on implementing the JCPOA on an ongoing basis.”
Mrs Mogherini “welcomed the opening of the possibility to enter talks on a new comprehensive deal with Iran in November under good faith conditions”, Reuters said.
She called on Iran to drop its objections to US measures and the removal of all sanctions against the country in return for a new deal.
Mrs Mogherini said the current format of the JCPOA was not “effective, or conducive to ongoing discussions on all elements that relate to the text”.
Iran’s foreign minister is due to meet the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York later this month.
Signed by Iran, the US, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany, the JCPOA suspended certain Iranian nuclear-related sanctions, allowing the country to reclaim access to international banking markets.
However, Washington has said that the deal’s restrictions on ballistic missiles could not be addressed until Iran ceased its “bad behaviour”.
In January this year, the US imposed fresh sanctions on Iran’s private sector, disrupting the sale of financial products and services.
Iran’s US policy chief, Mohammad Javad Zarif, called the sanctions “illegal and illegitimate” and accused Washington of exploiting its talks with France and Britain to pursue unilateral policies.
‘No direct negotiation’
The US said the sanctions were designed to reduce Iran’s oil revenue, which President Donald Trump said was the main factor behind the country’s illicit activities.
But many analysts see any potential new talks as an attempt by Tehran to distance itself from US President Donald Trump’s policies.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was attending the meeting, said the meeting would be “a two-way street”.
“We did not say there would be direct negotiations but we heard the others say that they believe it is in everyone’s interest that it happen,” he said.
Iranian media quoted President Hassan Rouhani as saying: “How can someone have such a dream that Iran will leave the nuclear deal, and for Iran to have no other options?”
Iran would prefer talks with other countries, but the US must respect the agreement if it wants a good deal, he said.