The United States says direct dialogue between Tehran and Washington would be much more productive on both nuclear negotiations and on other issues.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Monday that the US is prepared to meet with Iranian officials directly in bilateral as well as multilateral formats.
He reiterated Washington’s position a day after Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Tehran would consider direct talksif a good deal is in sight.
“Meeting directly would enable more efficient communication, which is urgently needed to swiftly reach an understanding on a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA”, he said during a press briefing.
Price said the US seeks to hold direct talks urgently because the nonproliferation benefits of the JCPOA as initially drafted and implemented are getting outweighed by the pace of Iran’s nuclear advancements.
In response to a question about when such direct talks would happen, Price said the authorities in Tehran should answer the question because “the Iranians have insisted on the indirect format in Vienna. We have long noted the fact that indirect talks, especially on an issue of this complexity and of this importance, is a hindrance”.
About Special Envoy Robert Malley’s comments about the issue of Iran releasing American hostages, Price said that these issues “are operating on separate tracks” because it would serve anybody's interests “to tie their fates to a mutual return to JCPOA compliance that is “uncertain at best”.