Feb. 18 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday the United States would be willing to negotiate plans with Iran and other signatories for both nations to return to compliance with the Iran nuclear deal.
In a joint statement, the United States and the so-called European Union Three nations -- Britain, France and Germany -- said they welcomed the return of both the United States and Iran to the Obama-era deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The statement warned Iran against taking steps to block inspections and produce nuclear material.
"The E3 and the United States affirmed their shared objective of Iran's return to full compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA," the nations said. "Secretary Blinken reiterated that, as President [Joe] Biden has said, if Iran comes back into strict compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA, the United States will do the same and is prepared to engage in discussions with Iran toward that end."
The statement comes after Iran on Monday stepped up pressure on the United States to rejoin the nuclear deal, which it exited in 2018, or it will limit inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency -- the United Nations nuclear watchdog -- at Iranian sites.
The nations urged Iran "not to take any additional steps" toward limiting IAEA verification in its facilities.
"The E3 and the United Nations are united in underlining the dangerous nature of a decision to limit IAEA access and urge Iran to consider the consequences of such grave action, particularly at this time of renewed diplomatic opportunity," they said.
Additionally, the leaders said Iran's recent actions to produce uranium enriched up to 20% and uranium metal "have no credible civil justification," noting that such production is a key step in developing a nuclear weapon.
The Trump administration re-imposed sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from the nuclear deal and Iran has periodically violated parts of the agreement, leading to concern over whether its enforcement could be salvaged.
Biden has said he plans to rejoin the deal but has yet to take official action toward that goal.