2021-10-08 00:38:45 US calls for ‘imminent’ return to nuclear talks with Iran | Nuclear Energy News
US calls for ‘imminent’ return to nuclear talks with Iran | Nuclear Energy News
According to a State Department spokesperson, the US is “willing and able” to resume talks as soon as Iran agrees.
The Biden administration has called for a “imminent” return to Vienna talks to resurrect the Iran nuclear deal, but has stated that a resumption of the talks is “dependent on the Iranians.”
On Thursday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters that Washington is willing to continue the talks as long as Tehran agrees to re-engage in them, emphasizing that the path to diplomacy remains open.
Negotiations have been stalled since June, shortly after Iran’s conservative President Ebrahim Raisi was elected.
“We have made it abundantly clear that we are ready, willing, and able to return to Vienna as soon as we have a partner with whom to negotiate,” Price said.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a multilateral nuclear agreement signed in 2015, saw Iran scale back its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions against its economy.
Former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2018 as part of his maximum pressure campaign against Iran, which has responded by enriching uranium far beyond the pact’s limits.
President Joe Biden has stated that he wants to return to the 2015 agreement negotiated by the Obama administration, during which he served as vice president. Six rounds of indirect talks in Vienna, however, have failed to produce a path to restoring the JCPOA.
On Thursday, Price stated that the Biden administration hopes to resume negotiations where they left off, implying that Washington is opposed to restarting talks with Iran’s new government.
“It’s critical for the parties to come back together to continue, to pick up where we left off in Vienna after the sixth round, so that we can resume this seventh round on the basis of what we’ve accomplished so far,” he said.
Raisi’s government has taken a tough stance toward the United States, stating that any talks must result in the removal of all sanctions against the country.
However, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian stated last month that Iran would return to the Vienna talks “very soon.”
Price expressed hope that the Iranian government’s definition of “soon” matches that of the US administration, claiming that the process cannot continue “indefinitely.”
“We are firmly of the belief that we need to work quickly; we need to work with alacrity and great speed to see if we can achieve that mutual return to compliance that we have been sincere and steadfast in seeking,” he said.
During a meeting earlier this week with his Israeli counterpart, Eyal Hulata, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan stated that Washington is prepared for efforts to restore the JCPOA to fail.
Since the JCPOA was signed six years ago, the Israeli government has been outspoken in its opposition to it.
“Mr. Sullivan emphasized President Biden’s fundamental commitment to Israel’s security and to ensuring that Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon,” according to a US National Security Council statement describing Sullivan and Hulata’s talks.
“Mr. Sullivan explained that this administration believes diplomacy is the best way to achieve that goal, while also emphasizing that the President has made it clear that if diplomacy fails, the United States is prepared to pursue other options.”