The US is still unsure whether Iran will honor the nuclear deal.
The US, which has been holding indirect talks with Iran for two months about the future of a shattered 2015 nuclear deal, said Monday that it was not even sure if Tehran wanted to return to compliance.
As you know, we’ve been engaged in indirect conversations over the last couple of months, and it remains unclear whether Iran is willing and ready to do what it needs to do to return to compliance,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“That proposition is still being tested,” Blinken said.
Former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, claiming that it did not go far enough in preventing the Islamic republic from developing a nuclear weapon.
Trump tightened sanctions against Tehran, and the Iranian government responded by gradually withdrawing from the deal’s commitments.
President Joe Biden has stated that if Iran keeps its end of the bargain, he will rejoin the agreement.
Since April, the two sides have been negotiating in Vienna through the deal’s other parties: the United Kingdom, China, France, Germany, and Russia.
The talks are set to resume in the Austrian capital later this week.
“We’re not even at the point of going back to compliance for compliance,” Blinken explained. “We don’t know if that will actually happen.”
On Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded to Blinken’s remarks.
“It’s unclear whether (Biden and Blinken) are ready to bury Trump’s failed’maximum pressure’ policy… and stop using #EconomicTerrorism as bargaining ‘leverage,'” he tweeted.
Iran is “in compliance” with the nuclear deal, he added, citing an article that allows one party to back out of its commitments if the other fails to comply with the agreement.
“It’s time to change course,” Zarif wrote, without going into further detail.