On Thursday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Iran that talks to revive the nuclear deal “cannot go on indefinitely” and placed the blame for the lack of progress on the Islamic Republic.
“We’re committed to diplomacy, but this process cannot go on indefinitely,” Blinken said during a visit to Kuwait. “We look to see what Iran is ready to do or not ready to do and remain fully prepared to return to Vienna to continue negotiations. The ball remains in Iran’s court.”
The last round of indirect negotiations between the US and Iran concluded on June 20th. They are on pause until President-elect Ebrahim Raisi replaces Iranian President Hassan Rouhani next month. Despite Blinken’s comments, the process has been dragged out because the Biden administration refuses to lift all Trump-era sanctions without getting additional concessions from Iran.
According to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the US wants to add a sentence to the nuclear deal that says it requires the US and Iran to negotiate other issues, like Iran’s ballistic missile program. “By putting this sentence, they want to provide an excuse for their further interventions on the principle of and missile program and regional issues,” Khamenei said on Wednesday.
The Iranian leader also said the US is not willing to provide guarantees for sanctions relief or a guarantee that Washington wouldn’t withdraw from the agreement again, like it did in 2018. “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.
Regardless of the reality of the situation, the Biden administration will continue to blame Iran. If the negotiations ultimately fail, the US will have Raisi to blame when he becomes president. Raisi is viewed as a hardliner, but he favors a revival of the JCPOA if the US returns to its commitments by lifting sanctions.