President Biden said Wednesday that “some progress” has been made during indirect negotiations with Iran in Vienna to revive the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.
“It’s not time to give up,” Biden said at a press conference. “There is some progress being made.”
Biden also said that the P5+1 are on the same page concerning the Iran deal. The P5+1 refers to the countries that signed the JCPOA with Iran in 2015; the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the US, Russia, China, France, and Britain — plus Germany.
Other US officials have been warning that time is running out on the talks and have suggested early February is the deadline for negotiations.
A US official involved in the process told Axios that the talks need to speed up or Iran needs to slow its nuclear advancements, although Tehran has said it won’t increase uranium enrichment, even if the negotiations fail.
The US official said the parties are the closest they’ve been to reaching a deal but warned the talks could fall apart at any moment. “We are prepared and willing to reach a deal soon. But we are also prepared and bracing for the possibility of a breakdown which would spell the JCPOA’s likely demise,” the official said.
Since the talks restarted at the end of November, Iran has kept a positive attitude. The US has seemed to finally accept the reality that Iran won’t settle for a bad deal, and Biden will need to give adequate sanctions relief to revive the JCPOA. The two sides are now reportedly at odds over guarantees and the verification of sanctions relief.