Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday said that it’s “unlikely” an agreement will be reached with Iran to revive the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, in the near future and blamed the impasse on Tehran.
“What we’ve seen over the last week or so in Iran’s response to the proposal put forward by the European Union is clearly a step backward and makes prospects for an agreement in the near-term, I would say, unlikely,” Blinken told reporters while on a visit to Mexico City to discuss trade.
Blinken accused Iran of being “unwilling” to reach an agreement and claimed Tehran introduced “extraneous issues.” The US made similar claims in a statement to a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Board of Governors.
“We stand ready to quickly implement a deal on a mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA. What we lack is a willing partner in Iran,” the US told the Board of Governors.
While the US is putting all the blame on Iran, the Biden administration has taken a very hardline approach to the negotiations by refusing to lift all Trump-era sanctions. President Biden has expanded the Trump administration’s so-called “maximum pressure campaign.”
Blinken’s comments appear to confirm remarks made by a senior Israeli official on Monday, who said the US and European JCPOA signatories had conveyed that an agreement won’t happen. The official also said that the US had toughened its stance in the negotiations with Iran as a result of the Israeli pressure, although that characterization was disputed by a State Department spokesperson.
The Israeli official also claimed that Israel had successfully sidelined Robert Mally, President Biden’s special envoy for Iran, who played a role in negotiating the JCPOA when it was first signed in 2015. The State Department also disputed that assertion, saying that Malley is an “integral” part of the negotiations with Iran.
The US and Iran appear to be at odds over the number of sanctions the US is willing to lift, guarantees Tehran wants for if the US pulls out of the JCPOA again, and an IAEA inquiry into uranium traces at undeclared nuclear sites.