Iran Says at Odds With US Over ‘Significant Issues’ as Nuclear Deal Talks are on Pause

The negotiations are expected to resume sometime this week

The US and Iran are still at odds over “significant issues,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Monday as the Vienna nuclear deal talks are on pause.

“Important and significant issues remain regarding the removal of sanctions that have not made an agreement possible so far,” Khatibzadeh said. He reiterated Iran’s calls for guarantees that the US won’t withdraw from the nuclear deal again.

Despite the differences, Khatibzadeh still said “very significant progress” was made during the previous three weeks of negotiations. The talks were put on pause Friday and are expected to resume sometime this week. Participants on all sides have said the negotiations are at the point where “political decisions” need to be made.

“The other parties know the differences clearly. They need to make political decisions, especially in Washington,” Khatibzadeh said. “We await political decisions by Washington upon the return of the US delegation.”

Also on Monday, a US official repeated warnings that time is running out on the talks and urged Tehran to negotiate directly. The two sides have been negotiating indirectly with the help of the EU and the other remaining nuclear deal participants: China, Russia, the UK, France, and Germany.

“If our goal is to reach an understanding quickly … the optimal way to do that, in any negotiation, is for the parties that have the most at stake to meet directly,” the US official said. Last week, Iran’s foreign minister said Tehran was willing to negotiate with the US directly if that’s what it takes to reach a “good agreement.”

The major sticking point between the US and Iran is reportedly over the guarantees Tehran is seeking. Since the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, is not a treaty, future US administrations are not bound by it.

During earlier negotiations with the previous Iranian government, Tehran was willing to settle for a promise that President Biden would stay in the JCPOA during his term in office. But Biden refused, wasting the opportunity to revive the deal.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.