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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Iran not serious about reviving nuclear deal: Blinken

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday said that the latest round of Iran nuclear talks ended because Iran right now does not seem to be serious about doing what is necessary to return to compliance with a 2015 deal

Blinken, speaking at the Reuters Next conference, said that the United States would not let Iran drag out the process while continuing to advance its program and that Washington will pursue other options if diplomacy fails.

“What we’ve seen in the last couple of days is that Iran right now does not seem to be serious about doing what’s necessary to return to compliance, which is why we ended this round of talks in Vienna,” Blinken said.

Read more: Israel begs US to suspend Iran nuclear talks

What is actually happening?

“We’re going to be consulting very closely and carefully with all of our partners in the process itself … and we will see if Iran has any interest in engaging seriously,” he said.

Indirect U.S.-Iranian talks on saving the nuclear deal broke off until next week as European officials voiced dismay on Friday at the demands of Iran’s new, hardline administration.

The 2015 agreement put restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the easing of some international sanctions. In 2018 then-President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the deal, calling it too soft on Tehran, and reimposed painful U.S. economic sanctions on Tehran. Iran then began breaching many of the deal’s limits on enrichment and other restrictions.

“If the path to a return to compliance with the agreement turns out to be a dead-end, we will pursue other options,” Blinken said but declined to spell out what those would be.

Read more: ‘No progress’ on eve of Iran nuclear talks: UN agency

European diplomats reaction

European diplomats expressed “disappointment and concern” on Friday after five days of international negotiations in Vienna as Iran submitted two draft proposals that appeared to undo months of dialogue.

Senior diplomats from the E3 group expressed “disappointment and concern after thoroughly and carefully analyzing Iranian proposed changes to the text negotiated during the previous six rounds,” which took place earlier this year.

Read more: Prospects of Iran nuclear talks grim, says Eurasia group

“Tehran is walking back almost all of the difficult compromises crafted after many months of hard work,” they said, adding that the Iranian delegation had demanded “major changes.”


Reuters with additional input by GVS