John Kirby
John KirbyREUTERS/Jim Bourg

White House spokesman John Kirby on Thursday echoed statements made a day earlier by the State Department spokesperson, ruling out any imminent revival of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal.

"It's not that we don't want to see the JCPOA reimplemented, we of course do. We're just not in a position where... that's a likely outcome anytime in the near future," Kirby told reporters, as quoted by the AFP news agency.

"What we're focused on is holding the (Iran) regime accountable for what they are doing to these innocent political protesters," he added, in a reference to the protests and unrest which have plagued Iran since the Mahsa Amini, 22, died on September 16 after being arrested by the morality police.

President Joe Biden is "committed to not allowing Iran to achieve a nuclear weapons capability," Kirby said on Thursday.

"The president still believes that a diplomatic way forward is the best way forward to achieve that outcome. At this time, the Iranians have come back with unreasonable demands, many of which have nothing to do with the deal itself," he stated.

His comments come a day after US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that the Iran nuclear deal is “not our focus right now” and the administration is instead focusing on supporting the protesters in Iran as efforts to restore the nuclear deal have hit yet another impasse.

“The Iranians have made very clear that this is not a deal that they have been prepared to make, a deal certainly does not appear imminent,” Price said at a department briefing.

“Iran’s demands are unrealistic. They go well beyond the scope of the JCPOA,” he added. “Nothing we’ve heard in recent weeks suggests they have changed their position.”

Indirect talks between the US and Iran on a return to the 2015 deal have hit a snag in recent weeks.

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.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian subsequently said that Iran's position in the negotiations has not been changed, claiming that "the only obstacle to an agreement is the lack of realism and necessary determination on the part of America."

A US official said late last month that the efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have “hit a wall” because of Iran's insistence on the closure of the UN nuclear watchdog's investigations.