U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a press conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, Dec. 14, 2021. (AP)

January 6, 2022

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the eighth round of talks in Vienna, which are aimed at reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, had made only “modest progress.”

He called on Tehran to “exercise restraint” because its accelerated nuclear steps will diminish the benefits of the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

In a daily press briefing on Tuesday evening, Price said: “There was some modest progress in the talks last week. We hope to build on that this week.”

He also noted the return of the US special envoy to Iran, Robert Malley, to Vienna following a short break during the New Year holidays.

He continued: “What is clear is that if we do not soon reach an understanding on a mutual return to compliance, Iran’s accelerating nuclear steps will increasingly diminish the nonproliferation benefits of the JCPOA.”

Price linked the issue of sanctions relief to Iran’s nuclear steps, stating: “Even if there has been some progress, the fundamental situation really remains… Iran needs to exercise restraint in its nuclear program and pursue negotiations in Vienna seriously.”

He added that the US will “be watching very closely,” to determine “whether the Iranians are as sincere and as steadfast as we have been in seeking a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA”.

During a joint press conference with her US counterpart Antony Blinken in Washington, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that Germany and the United States were going in the same direction to return to mutual compliance with the nuclear deal.

“We are pulling in the same direction when it comes to Iran and the discussions and negotiations are entering a crucial phase,” Baerbock said.

“Iran has squandered a lot of trust and there is not much time,” she added.

Asharq Al-Awsat

About Track Persia

Track Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.