Indirect talks on a new nuclear deal between the United States and Iran have been positive, but the “road ahead remains long,” a State Department official said Tuesday.
“The road ahead remains long. There will be difficult moments, and … we certainly have a ways to go,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price said.
The US and Iran have been engaged in talks mediated by European capitals as well as Russia and China for weeks now. The Biden administration has been adamant about reaching a new deal with Iran after former President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the now-defunct JCPOA, an acronym for the 2015 nuclear treaty.
Despite mixed signals from Iran so far, and its president said on Tuesday that talks in Vienna had progressed “by about 60 to 70 percent,” Price said there was “more road ahead of us than we have behind us, at this stage.”
Price also hit out at the Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign calling it a failed experiment. “Look at the results of that campaign compared to what it was supposed to deliver,” he said. “They got nowhere to a better deal. In fact, Iran accelerated its nuclear program and enacted measures that would have been prohibited under the JCPOA,” he argued.
Price’s comments came after the Iranian government claimed it had started enriching uranium to 60 percent but said it was easy to reverse if the US lifted sanctions.
Iran has demanded that the US lift all Trump-era sanctions that have delivered a crushing blow to the Iranian economy and Tehran’s ability to fund its proxies and militias worldwide.
Biden officials have said that Iran must first return to full compliance with the JCPOA before it lifts certain sanctions.