The Biden administration is still hoping to reach an agreement with Iran to revive the 2015 nuclear deal but there is a deadline, according to National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby.
The president has said we want to get a deal, and we want to do this diplomatically. But we’re not going to stay at it forever, so we hope that they’ll act swiftly and we’ll be able to move this thing forward,” Kirby told Al Arabiya in an interview.
Washington and Tehran have been conducting indirect talks for well over 500 days. Iran has used stalling mechanisms throughout months of the negotiations and both sides have cast the blame on the other.
Asked about a specific timeframe, Kirby said it would not suit anybody “to be too specific right now.”
The US believes they are closer today to a deal than they were two weeks ago, Kirby said, citing Iran’s willingness to drop “some unrelated demands.”
Iran relayed its response to Washington’s comments on what the European Union previously said was the “final text” of an agreement. And US officials quickly sounded pessimistic, calling Tehran’s “not constructive.”
Shortly after, NSC Spokesperson Adrienne Watson released a statement saying, “This is a negotiation, with regular back and forth.”
Watson added: “We will not negotiate in public. Some gaps have closed in recent weeks, but others remain.”
Defending the deal
During his interview with Al Arabiya, Kirby defended the sanctions relief that Iran would get under a potential new deal.
Reports indicate that Iran would be on the receiving end of around $100 billion, which critics say will not be invested in the Iranian people or infrastructure.
“Sanctions relief are a part of this deal in return for not allowing Iran to have a nuclear weapon,” Kirby said. “Now, if Iran chooses to use that money to propagate their support to terrorists, if Iran chooses to use that money to continue to make the region less secure, then the US and our allies and partners have available to us avenues to address that and we’ll do that.”
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