US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday that he is not optimistic that the negotiations in Vienna would result in a new nuclear agreement.
“I think in the very near future, the next day or so, we’ll be in a position to judge whether Iran actually intends now to engage in good faith,” Blinken told reporters at a meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Stockholm. “I have to tell you, recent moves, recent rhetoric, don’t give us a lot of cause for optimism.”
He added that Iran still had a chance to turn things around and reach a deal with Western powers. “But even though the hour is getting very late, it is not too late for Iran to reverse course."
Secretary Blinken spoke Thursday morning with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett about the renewed negotiations to reach a deal on Iran's nuclear program.
Blinken informed Bennett of what was taking place in the talks between Iran and the world powers at Vienna.
The Prime Minister noted the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Wednesday statement that Iran is enriching uranium to 20%, using advanced centrifuges in an underground facility at Fordow. This activity was explicitly banned under the 2015 deal.
Bennett emphasized that Iran is using "nuclear blackmail" as a negotiation technique, and that the response to this must be immediate cessation of talks, and harsher steps against Iran.