US Working With Allies on 'Alternatives' as European States Vent Frustration Over Iran Nuclear Talks
© REUTERS / EU DELEGATION IN VIENNADeputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Enrique Mora and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani wait for the start of a meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission in Vienna, Austria December 3, 2021. EU Delegation in Vienna/Handout via REUTERS
Iran and the remaining signatories to the nuclear deal resumed talks last week after a brief pause. American and European diplomats have reportedly grown increasingly frustrated with Tehran's "unrealistic" proposals for restoration of the nuclear accord.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has revealed that the US has been working on "alternatives" in case the Vienna talks with Iran and other parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, also known as the Iran nuclear deal) fail.
"We continue in this hour, on this day, to pursue diplomacy because it remains at this moment the best option, but we are actively engaging with allies and partners on alternatives".
Blinken went on to warn that the timeline for restoring the JCPOA was limited. He insisted that the nuclear accord will "become an empty shell" if there is no "swift progress" in the negotiations.
The US secretary of state is not the only party to the talks trying to hurry up Tehran to reach common ground with the signatories. UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss insisted that the ongoing round of talks in Vienna is Iran's "last chance to come to the negotiating table with a serious resolution".
"There is still time for Iran to come and agree this deal".
At the same time, AP has reported that European diplomats are growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress and blame Iran for wasting "precious time". They did not elaborate on why time is limited for restoring the deal devised to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, which Tehran insists it doesn't seek.
The diplomats from the UK, Germany, and France – signatories to the original 2015 deal alongside the US, Russia, and China – reportedly accused Tehran of coming up with unrealistic demands.
"As of this moment, we still have not been able to get down to real negotiations", the diplomats said.
Iran seeks to restore the JCPOA to its original state with all US sanctions lifted from the Islamic Republic and guarantees set in place to ensure compliance in the future.
In 2018, the Trump administration voluntarily and unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 accord, imposing hefty economic sanctions on Tehran and jeopardising the nuclear deal. The new administration in Washington, however, declared that it wanted to restore the JCPOA and was willing to engage in talks. The first round was held in May and achieved a measure of success, according to those who participated in the talks.
13 December 2021, 12:41 GMT
These talks were cut short after Iran elected a new government in June. Negotiations resumed at the end of November, but western diplomats claim that Tehran has backtracked on many things achieved during the previous round of talks in Vienna.