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Iran nuclear deal

US, Iran ‘not near’ conclusion of talks over nuclear deal: Official

A step-by-step approach is no longer on the agenda, a senior State Department official said

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The United States and Iran are “not near” the conclusion of talks over a new nuclear deal and the outcome is still uncertain, a senior State Department official said Wednesday.

After the second round of indirect talks between the US and Iran in Vienna, the official said there was some progress, “but we’re not in a situation that is radically different from where we were at the conclusion of round one.”

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What has been achieved is a greater clarification of what the US and Iran need to do to come back into full compliance with the JCPOA, an acronym for the Iran nuclear deal signed in 2015.

“There’s still disagreements, in some cases pretty important ones, on our respective views about what is meant by a return to full compliance,” the State Department official told reporters during a phone briefing.

Asked to elaborate, the official said the differences were over which sanctions the US would need to lift and what exactly Iran needed to do in order to come back into full compliance with the JCPOA.

Nevertheless, the official said “full compliance for compliance” was being discussed. Iran previously suggested a step-by-step approach, but the revealed, “that’s no longer on the agenda.”

The US is open to various proposals and sequencing, but Washington will not agree to acting first and removing all sanctions, the official said.

As for the next steps, the State Department official said he expected a “multi-round” dialogue and that the US would not rush to meet any deadlines. “Our hope is to get [a deal] as soon as possible ... but we’re not going to go fast at the expense of the solidity of the understanding that we’re seeking to reach.”

Read more: Iran adds advanced machines at Natanz uranium enrichment plant: IAEA