Nuclear talks
Nuclear talks Handout, Reuters

A senior official in the US State Department on Saturday told reporters that "if Iran continues on its current path, we will need to increase pressure on it. We are preparing for a world in which there is no return to the nuclear agreement."

According to the official, the US cannot accept a situation in which Iran is advancing its nuclear program, while dragging its feet in negotiations on the resumption of the deal, Channel 13 News said.

The official also said that in the current talks, Iran backtracked on the compromises it made during the 2015 talks, while at the same time setting new demands. At the same time, Iran is pushing forward its nuclear program in a way that is seen as "provocative," Channel 13 said.

He added that the European partners, as well as China and Russia were "quite taken aback" at the fact that Iran backtracked on what it proposed in 2015, during the nuclear talks last week.

NBC NEWS quoted the official as saying that Iran came to the talks "with proposals that walked back anything - any of the compromises Iran had floated here in the six rounds of talks, pocket all of the compromises that others, and the US in particular, had made, and then asked for more."

According to NBC, that official told reporters that he was not sure when the next round of talks would resume, but that the date was less important than "than whether Iran will come back with a serious attitude prepared to negotiate seriously."

A Hebrew-language report said that the State Department official noted that Iran "came with a non-serious proposal - how can we return to the agreement? They walked back their previous agreements...diplomacy is the best path, but we have other tools - right now, we are not lifting sanctions."

When asked extensively about the relationship between the US and Israel, the official said, "The goal is shared - preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. But at the end of the day, Israel is a sovereign country and needs to worry about its issues and its national interests. Our job is not to stop the tension between Israel and Iran. Israel is an independent country and our goal is shared, and we are stronger when we work together - that's why you see so many conversations."

When asked if there is a crisis with Israel following Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's warnings, he said, "Everyone is worried, it's something we've spoken about at length. Our delegation was in Israel just now, and there were meetings and there will be meetings this week with Israelis who will visit here. There are disagreements, that's clear, but our shared goal is clear - that Iran will not have nuclear weapons."

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