US State Department: Iran Nuclear Deal ‘Neither Imminent Nor is It Certain’

© REUTERS / LEONHARD FOEGERPolice stand outside a hotel where a meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, is held in Vienna, Austria, April 20, 2021.
Police stand outside a hotel where a meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, is held in Vienna, Austria, April 20, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.03.2022
The US Department of State has indicated that a deal with Iran over its nuclear program is not a foregone conclusion.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters during a Monday briefing that a nuclear agreement with Iran is not imminent but that the Biden administration is prepared to make “difficult decisions” in order to revive the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) aimed at keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of Iran.
"I want to be clear that an agreement is neither imminent nor is it certain," Price underscored.
According to France 24, Price told journalists that the State Department cannot provide specifics on what hurdles remain as the department does not negotiate in public, but noted that “we are prepared to make difficult decisions to return Iran's nuclear program to its JCPOA limits[.]”
Price relayed to reporters that Washington wants Tehran to commit to verifiable limits on its nuclear program, and that the department is equally preparing for scenarios with and without a reinstatement of the JCPOA.
It is believed that Iran wants economic guarantees in case another administration goes back on a potential nuclear deal, as former US President Donald Trump had done in 2018 after claiming that Iran had broken stipulations under the Obama-era agreement.
Iran has further indicated that it also wants its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) removed from the US foreign terrorist organization (FTO) list, according to sources. The IRGC was designated as an FTO in 2019, marking the first time a state entity was added to the list.
The Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Vienna, Austria, March 1, 2021. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.03.2022
As End of ‘Grueling Marathon’ of JCPOA Revival Draws Near, IAEA Warns Iran Nearing Uranium Milestone
Ongoing Vienna talks aimed at restoring the 2015 nuclear agreement had been going well until earlier this month as diplomats from multiple countries estimated that a deal could have been reached within days. However, talks broke down over the timing and extent to which sanctions on Iran would be lifted.
Escalating tensions with Russia over the Kremlin's special military operation in Ukraine has affected negotiations. Moscow asked for assurance that its trade with Iran will not be affected by sanctions the US imposed on Russia due to the special military operation in Ukraine. Russia envoy Mikhail Ulyanov stressed however, that Moscow did not cause the talks to break down, adding, “There are others that need to settle their issues among themselves.”
The United States left the JCPOA deal in 2018 when Trump pulled out and reinstated strict sanctions, fulfilling a 2016 campaign promise. The decision was criticized by European nations, Iran and Russia but was commended by Israel and Saudi Arabia, longtime rivals of the Tehran government.
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