State Department spokesperson Ned Price reiterated on Thursday that a nuclear deal with Iran is not expected anytime soon.
Asked during a press briefing whether the Biden administration is still pursuing a deal with Iran, Price replied that “it’s no secret that a deal does not appear imminent. A deal does not appear in the offing, at least not at the moment, because Iran’s demands have consistently gone beyond the four corners of the JCPOA.”
“We’ve heard nothing in recent weeks to suggest that Iran is prepared or preparing to change its approach, and so right now the eyes of the world are where they should be,” he added.
Price was then pressed by the reporters on whether the draft agreement that the US put forward is still on the table.
“That is a hypothetical that I don’t think anyone expects to come to pass. The fact is that we continue – the President – let me back up. The President made a commitment that Iran will never acquire a nuclear weapon. We remain determined to uphold that commitment, to see to it that Iran never does acquire a nuclear weapon. Another proposition is that we continue to believe that diplomacy is the most effective, the most sustainable means by which to realize that commitment on a basis that is both permanent and verifiable,” he replied.
“But the fact is that the JCPOA, the question is largely academic at the moment. And so right now we’re focused, as is the rest of the world, on what is happening not in a foreign capital with negotiations, but right now in the absence we are focused where the rest of the world is, on the bravery and the courage of the Iranian people,” added Price.
His comments come days after White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that while negotiations to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal continue, the Biden Administration does not expect a new deal will be reached "anytime soon".
She added that "the door for diplomacy will always remain open.”
Last week, White House spokesman John Kirby ruled 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.
"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.
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.
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.