US May Rethink Iran’s Approach If No Deal Reaches “Foreseeable Future” | Conflict News

The timing of US sanctions relief, Iranian centrifuges are sticking points as Ebrahim Raisi’s election puts talks on hold.

Washington may need to rethink its approach to Iran if the serious differences between the two countries over resuming compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal cannot be resolved “for the foreseeable future,” said Thursday a senior American official.

“We still have serious differences … on a multitude of issues, whether it is the nuclear measures Iran must take to come into compliance, the sanctions relief the United States would offer or the sequence of actions the two sides would take, ”the official told reporters on a conference call.

“This process will not be open forever,” the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity, the Reuters news service reported.

“We have differences and if we can’t bridge them for the foreseeable future, I think we’ll have to come together and figure out how we… move forward.”

A sixth round of indirect talks between the United States and Iran was postponed Sunday, two days after the election of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the head of the Iranian judiciary subject to US sanctions. Raisi is due to take office in August.

The official said the US delegation expected to return to Vienna for a seventh round in the not-so-distant future, but was unsure of when – suggesting the key factor would be internal Iranian consultations after Raisi’s election.

Iran struck a deal with the great powers in 2015 to curb its uranium enrichment program, a possible route to nuclear weapons, in exchange for the lifting of sanctions by the United States, the European Union and of ONU.

Former US President Donald Trump dropped the case in 2018 and reimposed tough sanctions, prompting Tehran to start violating some of the nuclear limits in 2019 while sticking to its position that it had no nuclear weapons ambition. US President Joe Biden is looking to revive the deal.

The senior US official declined to detail the sticking points in talks, which are indirect because Iran refuses to sit down with the American side. European diplomats are the main intermediaries.

An official involved in the talks said Iran’s enrichment with large numbers of advanced centrifuges is an unresolved issue, as is Iran’s request to “verify” US compliance before slowing down. its nuclear program.

This official said the verification meant that the easing of US sanctions, Iran’s export of some of the oil and its payment through an international bank before Tehran took steps to make its program less likely to be used to manufacture nuclear weapons.

Under the 2015 deal, Iran was only allowed to use advanced centrifuges in small numbers and not to accumulate enriched uranium.

A Western diplomat acknowledged that there was a major stumbling block to the sequencing, with the Iranians demanding immediate access to US dollars and the international banking sector.

The Western diplomat also said that advanced centrifuges, which can produce highly enriched uranium more efficiently, were a sticking point and suggested there was a possibility that Iran would be allowed to keep some of them.

In a surprise gesture on June 23, the US Department of Justice seized 36 websites with ties to the Iranian state for engaging in “disinformation campaigns and malicious influence operations” quickly drawing criticism from Iranian officials.

Iran’s foreign ministry called the seizure an example of a “systematic effort to distort free speech globally and silence independent voices in the media,” adding that Iran will pursue the matter through legal channels.

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