Iran’s top security official struck an uncompromising tone on Friday over stalled nuclear negotiations between Tehran and world powers, saying the current deadlock can only be broken if the US concedes to Iran’s demands.
The US and Iran have engaged for over a year in indirect talks in Vienna aimed at reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which former President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018.
The talks have stalled since March, reportedly over an Iranian demand to have the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) removed from the US Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list. The US had designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization under Trump in 2019.
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“The Vienna talks have reached a stage where the knot can only be untied if [the US] adheres to the logical and principled solutions of Iran,” Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, wrote on Twitter.
“If they have the will to return [to the deal], we are ready and an agreement is within reach,” he added.
Shamkhani’s tweet came hours after optimistic remarks by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell who earlier on Friday said the stalled negotiations with Iran had been “reopened” following a trip by EU envoy Enrique Mora to Tehran.
Mora, who is tasked with coordinating the talks, met with Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri-Kani in the Iranian capital this week.
Following Borrell’s comments, a US State Department spokesperson said it remained uncertain whether the 2015 deal can be revived.
“We and our partners are ready, and have been for some time. It’s now up to Iran,” the spokesperson said.
The 2015 deal offered Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.
Trump withdrew Washington from the deal in 2018 and reimposed sweeping sanctions on Tehran, saying the deal failed to address Iran’s ballistic missile program and regional activities and it did not block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon.
Iran, which insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, responded by expanding its nuclear program, breaching most of the deal’s restrictions.
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