White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki fields a question during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 1, 2022.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki fields a question during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 1, 2022.

Washington Reiterates, Onus Of A Nuclear Deal 'Squarely On Iran'


The United States has defended its approach to the Iran nuclear talks after criticism from Tehran that it is hamstrung by domestic politics.

"Anyone involved in the talks knows precisely who has made constructive proposals, who has introduced demands that are unrelated to the JCPOA, and how we reached this current moment," State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

In a press briefing Monday, Price also did not rule out reaching agreement in year-long Vienna talks between Iran and world powers to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action).

Iran's Foreign ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Monday that Washington was responsible for the pause in talks as it had failed to reach a political decision as its approach to outstanding issues had become “hostage to its own domestic issues."

Opponents of the JCPOA in Washington have stepped up criticism of the Biden administration, both over reported discussions within the administration of reversing former president Donald Trump’s decision to add Iran’s Revolutionary Guards to the US list of ‘foreign terrorist organizations’ (FTO) and the prospect of Russia gaining financially from work to develop Iran’s nuclear program within a revived JCPOA.

On Monday the pro-Republican Washington Free Beacon reported that congressional Republicans were preparing draft legislation to require Congressional approval to lift the FTO designation of the IRGC, which is subject to a range of other sanctions and is the only example of a sovereign state’s armed forces listed as a ‘foreign terrorist organization.’

Iran has also criticized recent sanctions levied by the US on Iranian individuals and companies as unhelpful. Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian recently said that Washington’s "maximalist demands" were dragging out the talks.

In his briefing Monday, Price recognized that the expansion of Iran’s nuclear program since the US left the JCPOA in 2018 had brought it closer to the capacity to make a crude atomic weapon. "Iran has been able to shrink that breakout time from where it started to a point where we can measure it weeks rather than months,” Price said. “To us, that is unacceptable as a long-term proposition.”

White House Spokeswoman Jen Psaki Monday put the onus for reaching agreement on JCPOA revival "squarely on Iran." In a joint briefing with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Psaki said Iran had “raised a number of issues that has [sic] nothing to do with the mutual compliance under the nuclear deal” and was “seeking to open issues outside the Vienna context or casting blame…on others for a pause in the talks.”

Ali Bigdeli, political analyst in Tehran, told the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) Tuesday that JCPOA revival could benefit both US President Joe Biden and the Iranian leadership. "Biden needs to show a winning card to the Congress" to improve his own circumstances, Bigdeli said, while lifting US ‘maximum pressure’ sanctions, imposed by Trump and continued by Biden, would ease Iran’s economic problems.

Bigdeli said Washington would agree to lifting IRGC sanctions if Iran moderated its regional policies. "This is the Gordian knot in the talks," Bigdeli said, suggesting that Amir-Abdollahian had insisted on removing all sanctions on the IRGC. Bigdeli argued that under pressure at home and from regional allies, presumably Israel and Saudi Arabia, Biden could not lift IRGC sanctions “without preconditions.”

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