Nuclear talks in Vienna
Nuclear talks in ViennaReuters

With the new Iranian government about to take office, US officials are stressing that Iran will not win more concessions by attempting to renegotiate the understandings reached in Vienna, Barak Ravid of Axios reported on Wednesday.

While the US hoped an agreement on returning to the 2015 nuclear deal would be reached before hardliner Ebrahim Raisi takes office, the negotiations have been suspended by the Iranians until the new government can form its own negotiating team.

Ali Bagheri-Kani, a conservative diplomat and leading critic of the 2015 deal, is reportedly the leading candidate to serve as foreign minister. If appointed, he will then form the new negotiating team.

Recent press reports indicate that Raisi intends to take a tougher line than his predecessor, Hassan Rouhani, on a return to the deal.

A senior US official involved in the nuclear talks told Ravid that the Biden administration is monitoring the public debate in Iran but hasn't heard anything definitive about the incoming government's position.

The official stressed that the window for reaching a deal won't be open for much longer, and the Iranians should return to the table quickly.

“We also hope they don’t think they will get more than the previous government because they are tougher," the official told Ravid.

"It’s not about being tougher, it's about fully implementing the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal. The U. position will not change, and the Iranians will not be able to reinvent the nuclear deal or be in a situation where they do less and we do more," the official stressed.

The official said there could be a point in the next few months at which it will no longer be worth returning to the 2015 deal because Iran's nuclear program will have advanced to the point where the limitations under the 2015 deal won't produce the intended one year “breakout time” to produce enough enriched uranium for a bomb.

“There is a deal on the table, and if the Iranians want to lift sanctions they have a way to do it,” said the official.

Iran has insisted on a removal of all the sanctions that have been imposed on it as a precondition for returning to the deal, while the Biden administration has insisted that some will remain if they were imposed over other concerns, including human rights and Iran's support for extremist movements.