Talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal between Western powers and Iran are approaching a dangerous impasse, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Tuesday.
"This negotiation is urgent, and progress has not been fast enough. We continue to work in close partnership with our allies, but the negotiations are reaching a dangerous impasse," Truss told parliament.
The statement from the British foreign secretary comes as the American negotiating team seems to be in disarray, with the second man in charge leaving the team and two other members also reportedly quitting.
The Wall Street Journal in a report Mondaysaid sources close to the US negotiating team have stated that Richard Nephew, an architect of previous economic sanctions on Iran, and two other members of the team have left due to disagreements over Special Envoy Robert Malley's soft posture towards Tehran in the current negotiations.
"Iran must now choose whether it wants to conclude a deal or be responsible for the collapse of the JCPOA (nuclear deal). And if the JCPOA collapses, all options are on the table," Truss told parliament.
The United States and its European allies in the talks have been warning since early December that time is running out for an agreement with Iran, which is fast enriching uranium and getting closer to a nuclear bomb capability. However, they have not set any deadlines as reports say enforcement of American sanction on Iran has also weakened.
One of the issues that has divided the US team is how firmly to enforce existing sanctions as Iran reports a substantial increase in its oil exports to China. The other issue is whether to cut off negotiations as Iran drags them out while its nuclear program advances, the people familiar with the negotiations told the Wall Street Journal.
The Biden Administration made the revival of the 2015 agreement known as the JCPOA that Donald Trump had abandoned a priority as soon as it assumed office. Talks began almost 10 months ago with Iran and world powers but so far, no political agreement has been reached. The limited agreements achieved have been on technical issues about how Iran should return to the limits of the agreement and how the United States can lift sanctions.