Citing three unnamed diplomats, Reuters reported on Thursday that negotiations in Vienna to revive the Iran nuclear deal are due to pause on Friday and are expected to resume later this month.
One diplomat said the indirect talks between the US and Iran could resume on December 27th, while another gave a timeframe between Christmas and January 1st.
Since the talks restarted at the end of November, the US and its European allies have been accusing Iran of not taking the process seriously. The US wants Iran to accept a draft agreement that was reached during earlier negotiations with the previous Iranian government, but Tehran has submitted new proposals.
Iran’s new proposals cover sanctions relief and its nuclear obligations. Despite Western claims that Iran is taking a hardline, Iran’s top negotiator in Vienna has made it clear Tehran’s readiness to negotiate the proposals. Iran ultimately wants more sanctions relief than the US is willing to give.
In the meantime, the US has ramped up the pressure on Iran by imposing new sanctions and working to tighten existing ones. Biden administration officials have been coordinating closely with the Israelis and have been making veiled hints at potential military action. On Tuesday, Blinken said the US was working with allies on “alternatives” in case the negotiations fail.