US pessimistic about chances of restoring Iran nuclear deal

Officials in the Biden administration have turned sharply pessimistic about their chances of quickly restoring the 2015 nuclear deal.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Nuclear talks in Vienna
Nuclear talks in Vienna
Reuters

Officials in the Biden administration have turned sharply pessimistic about their chances of quickly restoring the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, The New York Times reported on Saturday.

The concerns are a reversal from just a month ago, when American negotiators, based in part on assurances from the departing Iranian government, believed they were on the cusp of reaching a deal before Ebrahim Raisi takes office as President on Thursday.

It is unclear whether Raisi will retain the existing Iranian negotiating team or replace them with his own loyalists, who will presumably be determined to show they can drive a harder bargain, getting more sanctions relief in return for temporary limits on Iran’s nuclear activities.

“There’s a real risk here that they come back with unrealistic demands about what they can achieve in these talks,” Robert Malley, the lead American negotiator, said in an interview.

Officials in the Biden administration also fear that now that the Iranian nuclear program has resumed with a vengeance, the Iranians are learning so much from the work now underway that in the near future, perhaps as early as this fall, it may be impossible to return to the old accord.

“At that point, we will have to reassess the way forward. We hope it doesn’t come to that,” Malley told The New York Times.

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 has been holding indirect talks with the Biden administration on a return to the agreement.

However, Iran recently paused the talks and announced they will not resume before the Raisi government takes office.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said this week that nuclear talks with Iran "cannot go on indefinitely" but that Washington was "fully prepared" to continue negotiations.

"We're committed to diplomacy, but this process cannot go on indefinitely... we look to see what Iran is ready to do or not ready to do and remain fully prepared to return to Vienna to continue negotiations," he stated.

His remarks were echoed on Friday by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who said that Iran is "delaying" talks to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal and warned that the option to revive the deal would not remain open forever.



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