US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday that the prospects for a nuclear deal with Iran in the near term are unlikely.
Blinken, who spoke to reporters in Mexico City, cited Iran's response to a European Union proposal on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.
"I can't give you a timeline except to say, again, that Iran seems either unwilling or unable to do what is necessary to reach an agreement," he said, according to the Reuters news agency.
Iran recently announced it had submitted its comments to the US response to the European Union’s draft for reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
While Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson said at the time that Iran’s response was prepared based on a constructive approach, a senior Biden administration official told Politico, “We are studying Iran’s response, but the bottom line is that it is not at all encouraging.”
A senior European official directly involved in nuclear talks with Iran later told Axios’ Barak Ravid that Iran’s latest response to the EU’s proposal is unreasonable and indicates that the Iranians are not interested in closing a deal.
Meanwhile, a report in the Israel Hayom newspaper last week stated that US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman had said in recent closed conversations that the nuclear agreement with Iran will not be implemented.
According to the report, Sherman spoke in recent days with some of the Democratic members of Congress who oppose the nuclear deal with Iran, and expressed frustration with Iran's moves during the negotiations and with the fact that, despite all the administration's attempts, Tehran is still making maneuvers that are preventing an agreement from being reached.
Due to the lack of progress, Sherman estimated in those conversations that the agreement with Iran will not be signed at least until the "midterm elections" to be held on November 8. She said that the agreement with Iran might not be signed at all.
Iran, meanwhile, continues to scale back its compliance with the 2015 agreement.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said recently that Iran has begun enriching uranium with the second of three cascades, or clusters, of advanced IR-6 centrifuges recently installed at its underground plant at Natanz.
An earlier report released by the IAEA indicated that the first cascade had been brought onstream.