US and Iranian diplomats have engaged in at least six rounds of indirect talks brokered by the European Union, China, and Russia since President Joe Biden entered the White House.
But sticking points remain for both sides to resume compliance. Washington withdrew from the JCPOA, an acronym for the deal, in 2018, and Iran is demanding the US lift all sanctions before it continues compliance.
However, at this point, it still remains “unclear whether Iran is willing and prepared to do what it needs to do to come back into compliance,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday.
Speaking to lawmakers about the State Department’s foreign policy strategy and budget request, Blinken said: “We’re not even at the stage of returning to compliance for compliance. We don't know if that's actually going to happen.”
Blinken claimed that if Iran continued pushing ahead with violating the nuclear deal, its “breakout time” would be down “to a few months at best.”
Later Monday, Blinken’s Iranian counterpart claimed Iran was still in compliance with the JCPOA.
“It remains unclear whether @POTUS and @SecBlinken are ready to bury the failed 'maximum pressure’ policy of Trump and @mikepompeo, and cease using #EconomicTerrorism as bargaining 'leverage,’” Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted.
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