US expects sixth round of indirect talks with Iran

State Department spokesman says hurdles remain in talks to return Iran to compliance with 2015 agreement.

Elad Benari ,

Nuclear talks in Vienna
Nuclear talks in Vienna

The United States expects to have a sixth round of indirect talks on reviving compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and probably more, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Thursday, according to Reuters.

Price said that hurdles remain after a fifth round of talks that concluded on Wednesday and did not rule out the possibility of an agreement in the next round. The European Union envoy coordinating the talks on Wednesday said he believed a deal would be struck at the next round.

"We expect there will be a sixth. I think there's just about every expectation that there will be subsequent rounds beyond that," Price told reporters, according to Reuters.

He said the hurdles included the fact that the talks are indirect - Iran refuses direct discussions with the United States - and the issues complex.

"There is no lack of distrust between and among Iran and the other partners and allies with whom we're working on this," he added.

Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal in response to former US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in 2018, but current President Joe Biden has expressed a desire to return to the agreement – provided Iran resumes compliance with it.

Negotiations have been underway since April in the Austrian capital between Iran and the remaining members to the accord, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia. US diplomats have participated indirectly in the talks from a nearby hotel.

Iran has demanded that the US lift all the sanctions it has imposed on the Islamic Republic as a condition for it resuming compliance with the deal.

On Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that a breakthrough in the talks in Vienna before he leaves office in August require a "will" beyond his power.