US reluctance to lift sanctions main obstacle to reinstating 2015 pact, Iranian official says
Indirect talks between Washington and Tehran on restoring their nuclear pact broke down on Friday, with both sides saying they would resume the following week, as Western officials expressed dismay at the Islamic Republic’s massive demands.
“It is now clear that Washington’s reluctance to waive sanctions altogether is the main challenge to moving the talks forward,” the unnamed official quoted by Iranian news agency Tasnim said.
“We believe a deal is within reach if the US government backs off its maximum pressure campaign and European parties show serious flexibility and political will in the talks.”
Iran and the big powers began talks in April to bring Tehran and Washington back into full compliance with the pact, which was abandoned by former US President Donald Trump three years ago.
But talks broke down after radical Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was elected in June.
A year after Trump’s reimposition of tough sanctions on Iran, Tehran has started to gradually violate the nuclear limits of the deal. Iran wants all sanctions imposed by the United States lifted in a verifiable process.
While stressing that the United States still wanted to revive the deal, under which Iran had limited its nuclear program in return for economic sanctions relief, a senior US State Department official said on Saturday that the time was running out.
Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani said last Monday that Tehran had handed over two draft proposals to other parties to the agreement in Vienna, one on the lifting of sanctions and the other on limitations nuclear.
Tehran said it would later provide a third draft proposal on “the mechanism and timing of verification and issues related to receiving guarantees to prevent the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal.”
Speaking at the Reuters Next conference, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday that the United States would not let Iran drag out the process while pursuing its agenda and that Washington would pursue other options if the diplomacy failed.
“Contrary to what US officials say, I think if the other parties have the goodwill and stop their futile blaming game, an agreement is within reach,” the Iranian official said, according to Tasnim.
“The other parties should provide an appropriate response or present new proposals and clear ideas in writing … Then, avenues will be opened for reaching an agreement and settling disputes.”