US President Joe Biden
US President Joe BidenReuters

Talks aimed at bringing the United States back into the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran ended on Friday without any immediate signs of progress, The Associated Press reported.

Two working groups that have been meeting in Vienna since Tuesday to brainstorm ways to secure the lifting of American sanctions and Iran's return to compliance with the deal reported their initial progress to a joint commission of diplomats from the world powers that remain in the deal — France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia.

Russian delegate Mikhail Ulyanov tweeted that participants had “noted with satisfaction the initial progress made.”

“The commission will reconvene next week in order to maintain the positive momentum,” he said, according to AP.

The talks took place without the United States, but an American delegation headed by the Biden administration’s special envoy for Iran, Rob Malley, also has been in the Austrian capital this week. Representatives from the other world powers have been shuttling between the US and the Iranians to facilitate indirect talks.

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 May of 2018.

President Joe Biden has expressed a desire to return to the deal but has stressed that Iran must resume compliance with it before any negotiations on a US return to the agreement.

On Thursday, State Department spokesman Ned Price played down expectations for talks on how Washington and Tehran might resume compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

While echoing descriptions of the talks being held in Vienna as “constructive,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters “we would also, however, hasten to not allow expectations to outpace where we are.”

Earlier in the week, Price said the US is ready to review key sanctions on Iran if it comes into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.

On Wednesday, he took things a step further and indicated the US is prepared to remove sanctions on Iran to resume compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, including those that are inconsistent with the pact.

“We are prepared to take the steps necessary to return to compliance with the JCPOA, including by lifting sanctions that are inconsistent with the JCPOA,” Price said.

He added, however, “I am not in a position here to give you chapter and verse on what those might be.”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)