The United States and Iran both expressed pessimism over reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, but with Washington still retaining hope that the accord can be revitalized, saying on Thursday it is “not too late” for Tehran “to reverse course.”
“I have to tell you,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “recent moves, recent rhetoric, don’t give us a lot of cause for optimism.”
Time to revive deal running out
“But even though the hour is getting very late, it is not too late for Iran to reverse course” to save the deal aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear capabilities, in exchange for an easing of sanctions from Washington, he added.
“In the very near future, the next day or so, we will be in a position to judge whether Iran actually intends now to engage in good faith,” Blinken said.
The top US diplomat gave the gloomy outlook on the sidelines of a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), currently taking place in Stockholm.
The Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has been on life support since former President Donald Trump announced the United States was stepping away from the arrangement in 2018.
Pessimism at Vienna talks
In a phone call with Blinken on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called for the “immediate cessation” of talks between Iran and major powers in Vienna, which resumed on Monday after a five-month hiatus.
His comments came on the fourth day of indirect US-Iran talks in the Austrian capital aimed at bringing both nations back on board.
Iran also expressed pessimism at the likelihood of breathing life into the accord.
“We went to Vienna with serious determination, but we are not optimistic about the will and the intention of the United States and the three European parties to the deal,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian was quoted by Iranian media as saying.
The deal, struck in 2015, also includes the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany, as well as the United States and the European Union.
jsi/sms (AFP, Reuters)
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