US official says time is running out for Iran nuclear talks, urges action

US official says time is running out for Iran nuclear talks, urges action

Feb 1, 2022: According to a report by AFP, a senior US official said Monday that time was running out for nuclear talks with Iran and urged Tehran to agree to direct talks to help reach an agreement.

Speaking in the background, the official said that Iran’s nuclear program was close to a “breakout” towards nuclear weapons capability, with only “weeks” left to reach an agreement that could halt the program and help sanctions on the country to be eased.

The official commented,“I think we’re at the point where some of the most critical political decisions have to be made by all sides” in the talks to revive the 2015 deal involving Iran, the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

“If our goal is to reach an understanding quickly, the optimal way to do that, in any negotiation, is for the parties that have the most at stake to meet directly,” the official said, referring to the US and Iran.

“That’s been our view from the outset: we’re prepared to meet with Iran if they’re prepared to meet with us.”

The official said Iran’s enrichment program is close to producing enough fossil material for nuclear weapons. The official said it would be “extremely unfortunate” if the two sides did not talk directly, “given how little time is left, given how many critical decisions need to be made.”

The latest round of talks in Vienna to save the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, was postponed last week, with the EU coordinator calling for “political decisions” to break the deadlock. In the original agreement, Tehran was granted sanctions in exchange for sanctions on its nuclear program.

But in 2018, after the withdrawal and re-imposition of sanctions by the United States under Donald Trump, Iran began to dramatically increase its nuclear activities.

Joe Biden’s presidency helped restart the talks, but Washington is only indirectly involved, leaving Europeans to meet with the Iranians. One week ago, Iran said for the first time that it was ready for direct talks with the United States, which immediately declared itself ready for “immediate” talks. The U.S. official said Monday that not all details of the possible deal had been worked out.

He did however say that the US is prepared to make choices if a deal can be achieved quickly.

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