State Department: Talks with Iran not on cusp of a breakthrough

State Department spokesperson Ned Price says there is no agreement yet regarding a US return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

Elad Benari ,

Ned Price
Ned Price

State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters on Thursday that there is no agreement yet regarding a US return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

“We've been able to engage indirectly with the Iranian delegation in largely thoughtful business-like constructive dialogue but there is still a great distance to travel, and what we have said before about having more road ahead of us than road behind us, remains accurate,” Price said, in reference to the talks in Vienna with the other signatories to the deal.

“It is fair to say that some progress has been made. We have a better understanding of what we might need to do, were Iran to go back into compliance, and it is our assessment that the Iranians have a better sense of what they would need to do to resume their compliance with the JCPOA,” he added.

Price stressed that "big challenges remain," and that the talks "are not on a cusp of a breakthrough."

The talks in Vienna involved diplomats from Britain, China, France, Germany, Iran and Russia who met the Iranian representatives, while US diplomats participated indirectly in the talks from a nearby hotel.

The US and European Union both said last week that more work was needed to revive the 2015 deal, while Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the "negotiations have achieved 60-70 percent progress."

A senior State Department official told reporters last week that the US provided Iran with an outline of the sanctions it is prepared to remove as part of a mutual return to full compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.

On Wednesday, current and former US officials told The Associated Press that the Biden administration is considering a near wholesale rollback of some of the most stringent Trump-era sanctions imposed on Iran in a bid to get the Islamic Republic to return to compliance with the 2015 deal.