Antony Blinken
Antony Blinken Reuters

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday criticized Iran and said it is not serious about reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.

“What we’ve seen in the last couple of days is that Iran, right now, does not seem to be serious about doing what’s necessary to return to compliance, which is why we ended this round of talks in Vienna,” Blinken said during the Reuters Next conference, after the latest round of indirect talks adjourned.

He warned that the United States would not let Iran drag out the process while continuing to advance its nuclear program and stressed that Washington will pursue other options if diplomacy fails.

A State Department spokesperson said that Iran did not come to Vienna with constructive proposals.

“The first six rounds of negotiations made progress, finding creative compromise solutions to many of the hardest issues that were difficult for all sides. Iran’s approach this week was not, unfortunately, to try to resolve the remaining issues,” said the spokesperson.

“The new Iranian administration did not come to Vienna with constructive proposals,” the official added.

Blinken’s comments came after European officials voiced dismay over the demands of Iran's new, hardline administration in nuclear talks with the West.

Diplomats said the Iranian delegation had proposed sweeping changes to a text that was painstakingly negotiated in previous rounds and that European officials had said was 70-80% finished.

"Over five months ago, Iran interrupted negotiations. Since then, Iran has fast-forwarded its nuclear program. This week, it has back-tracked on diplomatic progress made," senior officials from France, Britain and Germany said in a statement, adding that Iran was demanding "major changes" to the text.

It is "unclear how these new gaps can be closed in a realistic time frame", they added.

In response, the top Iranian negotiator said that the European sides can propose their own drafts for discussion.

Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal it signed with world powers in response to former US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May of 2018.

Iran has repeatedly demanded that the US lift sanctions imposed on Iran and also reassure Iran it will not abandon the deal again as a precondition for its returning to compliance with the deal.

US officials have said that while they prefer the diplomatic route to reach an agreement with Iran, there are other options on the table should that fail.

The US envoy on Iran, Robert Malley, said last week that Washington will not "sit idly" on Iran if it drags its feet on returning to the nuclear deal.

Meanwhile, General Kenneth McKenzie, the top US commander in the Middle East, said that Iran is “very close” to a nuclear bomb and his forces stand ready with a potential military option should talks with the Islamic Republic fail.

(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.)

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