Negotiations in Vienna
Negotiations in Vienna צילום: Handout, Reuters

The American negotiating team dispatched to Vienna for nuclear talks with Iran has split over disagreements over how tough of a stance towards Tehran the US should take, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

Three members of the US team are reportedly at odds with the approach being taken at Vienna, multiple US officials told the Journal.

One of the members of the team, Richard Nephew, deputy special envoy to Iran, is said to have quit the team entirely.

Two others, not named in the report, have “stepped back from the talks” over frustrations with the soft negotiating stance taken in Vienna.

Officials cited in the report said that the team, led by State Department veteran Robert Malley, is divided over a number of issues, including how firmly to enforce existing sanctions on Iran, and whether to walk away from the negotiating table if Tehran continues to move forward with its nuclear program as talks drag on.

The report comes just hours after the US State Department said it is prepared to hold direct talks with Iran on its nuclear program, after Tehran said it would consider such an option.

"We are prepared to meet directly," a State Department spokesperson said, according to France24.

"We have long held the position that it would be more productive to engage with Iran directly, on both JCPOA negotiations and other issues," the spokesperson said, referring to the nuclear deal between Iran and major powers.