Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday said the US was “stubborn” in its demands of Iran during indirect talks to revive the nuclear deal and blamed Washington for delaying the negotiations.
Talks to revive the JCPOA began in Vienna back in April and are currently on pause until President-elect Ebrahim Raisi replaces Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in August. The process has been dragged out because the Biden administration refuses to lift all Trump-era sanctions.
Khamenei said Washington has also refused to provide a guarantee that it wouldn’t withdraw from the JCPOA again. “They once violated the nuclear deal at no cost by exiting it. Now they explicitly say that they cannot give guarantees that it would not happen again,” he said.
Throughout the talks, the US has said it will negotiate a stronger deal after the JCPOA is revived that deals with Iran’s ballistic missile program and support for its allies in the Middle East. Khamenei said the US wants to add a “sentence” to the JCPOA that says returning to the deal hinges on negotiating other issues.
“By putting this sentence, they want to provide an excuse for their further interventions on the principle of [the deal] and missile program and regional issues,” he said. “If Iran refuses to discuss them, they will say that you have violated the agreement and the agreement is over.”
Iranian officials have also called for a mechanism to verify that the US has provided adequate sanctions relief. But Khamenei said the US is only willing to verbally promise that it would lift sanctions.
Despite the fact that the US is the party that violated the deal by withdrawing in 2018 and is now adding on other demands, the Biden administration blames the lack of progress on Iran. In a statement to The Associated Press, the State Department said the US is being “sincere and steadfast in pursuing a path of meaningful diplomacy” in the negotiations.