Nuclear talks in Vienna
Nuclear talks in Vienna Handout, Reuters

The United States on Monday appeared to dismiss a key Iranian demand to salvage the 2015 nuclear accord as Tehran blamed Washington for the prolonged impasse, AFP reports.

One key sticking point in the indirect negotiations between Iran and the US is Iran's insistence on removing the US designation the Revolutionary Guards, the clerical regime's elite military unit with broad reach in the economy, is a terrorist organization.

"If Iran wants sanctions lifting that goes beyond the JCPOA, they'll need to address concerns of ours that go beyond the JCPOA," State Department spokesman Ned Price said when asked about the Revolutionary Guards' blacklisting, according to AFP.

"If they do not want to use these talks to resolve other bilateral issues, then we are confident we can very quickly reach an understanding on the JCPOA and begin to reimplement the deal itself," Price told reporters.

Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal, in response to former US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May of 2018, but has held several rounds of indirect talks with the US on a return to the agreement.

Negotiations nearly reached completion last month before Moscow demanded that its trade with Iran be exempted from Western sanctions over Ukraine, throwing the process into disarray.

Last month it was reported that the Biden administration is considering removing terrorism sanctions from the IRGC as part of negotiations to restore the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

However, a subsequent report in The Washington Post said that the Biden administration plans to reject the Iranian demand.

The Pentagon's top general recently said he was opposed to removing the elite Quds Force of Iran's Revolutionary Guards from the US terror group list.

Meanwhile on Monday, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that more than one issue was pending between Iran and the United States.

"Messages (from Washington) sent through (European Union coordinator Enrique) Mora these past weeks... are far from providing solutions that could lead to an accord," he told reporters.

"The United States are responsible for these delays, because they are taking their time to give replies" that would be suitable for Iran, he added.