The State Department has reiterated that nuclear talks with Iran cannot go on indefinitely and the US will turn “to other means”, being discussed with allies.
Spokesman Ned Price in his Tuesday briefing insisted that diplomacy remains the preferred path for the Biden Administration to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement known as JCPOA, but Iran needs to show good faith.
Multilateral talks suspended in June are scheduled to resume next week in Vienna, where the United States will participate indirectly in negotiations between Iran and other world powers.
Price said, if the Iranians, “through their actions or through their inactions, demonstrate or suggest that they lack that good faith, that they lack that clarity of purpose, we’ll have to turn to other means. We have a variety of other means. We’re discussing those with our allies and partners. In the category of things that aren’t prudent to discuss from here, that’s one of them.”
Price rejected the suggestion of offering Iran any incentives, or “greasing the wheels”, ahead of an agreement, as Tehran has demanded the release of frozen funds as a sign of US goodwill. “We have been very clear that we are not prepared to take unilateral steps solely for the benefit of greasing the wheel, as you said. We are prepared to engage in a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA,” he maintained.
The spokesman was asked if the Administration is sympathetic to the idea of an interim deal. Reported in the media last week. Price dismissed the idea, insisting that Washington is “sympathetic to testing the proposition as to whether we can achieve a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA.”
Asked how long it would take for the US to determine if the Iranians are negotiating in good faith, Price pointed to the indirect nature of the talks and said the US has to hold “deep consultation” with the participants in the talks, meaning the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China and EU diplomats.
Price also reiterated the Biden Administration view that the JCPOA “ is the best, it’s the most effective means by which to reapply…permanent and verifiable restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program permanently, preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
At the same time, former secretary of state Mike Pompeo tweeted on Tuesday that the Trump administration “rightly withdrew from the JCPOA, as it provided a clear pathway for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. We kept Iran under max pressure while fostering new relationships among those who partnered with us. Now, the Biden Admin wants to re-enter the JCPOA.”