Joe Biden's Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tehran knows precisely what they need to do to move the negotiations forward. "We still don't have an answer," he said.
The head of US diplomacy, Antony Blinken, said Sunday that it is unclear whether Iran is prepared to take the necessary measures to allow it to return to compliance with the international nuclear agreement.
Speaking ahead of his fifth visit to Vienna to defend the agreement, Blinken was asked for information from the Iranian side, indicating that Washington has already agreed to lift some sanctions, which Iran Weighs heavily on the economy.
If we understand if they don't comply with the nuclear deal, will the penalties be elevated," he told ABC. And he noted that the most important thing is that Iran knows what it needs to do to re-engage on the nuclear issue. What we haven't seen is whether Iran is eligible to vote, he said. It's a test, and we don't have a clarification.
Donald Trump withdrew the country from the deal in 2017, saying Tehran had violated its "spirit" and remained a regional threat. His successor Joe Biden needs to improve the pact. For that to happen, Washington must agree to lift the sanctions reinstated by Trump, and Tehran must commit to abide by the terms of the agreement.
Once Trump decided to walk away from the deal, the Islamic republic began to drop restrictions on its production of nuclear material.
European participants in the Vienna talks expressed optimism following the latest round of negotiations that concluded on Wednesday. "We have made good progress," Enrique Mora, the European Union official who presided over the talks between Russia, China, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Iran, wrote on Twitter Wednesday. "An agreement is shaping up," he added.
Indirect negotiations between Washington and Tehran have been taking place in the Austrian capital since the beginning of April, with the other five signatory countries to the agreement acting as intermediaries.
Diplomats hope that the United States will get back on board before the Iranian presidential election on June 18.
Blockade of the UN atomic agency
On Sunday, the Iranian Parliament said that the temporary inspection agreement between Iran and the UN Atomic Agency (IAEA) has expired and that the agency will not access the images recorded at the nuclear facilities. "The agency's quarterly deadline was until July 1 (May 22), and, based on this, the IAEA has no right to access the images and information of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. Yesterday they discussed and decided on it", informed the Chamber president, Mohamad Baqer Qalibaf.
The IAEA managed to close an interim agreement with three months to verify the Iranian nuclear program on February 21. The pact stipulated that if the United States had not lifted sanctions against Iran within that period, the images above would not be delivered to the UN agency.
It is unclear what will happen to the interim inspection agreement, which Iran and the IAEA are negotiating to extend. The announcement is expected to be made by UN nuclear director Rafael Grossi, who convened the conference. Press release for this afternoon
This arrangement was reached to mitigate the impact of the end of Iran's application of the so-called Additional Protocol, which granted IAEA inspectors unrestricted access to any site in Iran without prior notice. That measure to limit inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities is contained in a law approved by the Iranian Parliament last December to pressure the US to remove its sanctions against the Persian country.
In this regard, Qalibaf stressed that Parliament is "determined" that the aforementioned law "be implemented on the specified dates" while insisting that the Supreme Leader, Alí Jamaneí, agrees with it, according to state media. Also the deputy Alí Reza Salimí, asked in the open session of the Parliament today that the head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Alí Akbar Salehí, be ordered: "to push the videos and pictures from the cameras."
The interim pact has expired without the negotiations in Vienna to save the 2015 nuclear deal has achieved a result, although substantial progress has been made. Still, a further cut in inspections could damage these talks.