Western powers continue to blame Iran for stalled negotiations to revive the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA. In comments reported by Germany’s Der Spiegel on Friday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Iran was "delaying" the JCPOA talks that have been held in Vienna.
“I am seeing with growing unease that Iran is delaying the resumption of the Vienna nuclear talks on the one hand, and on the other hand it is simultaneously moving further and further away from core elements of the agreement,” Maas said.
After the US withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018, Iran gave other signatories one year to offset US sanctions before gradually increasing the activity of its civilian nuclear program. Over the past year, Tehran has taken steps to increase enrichment in response to Israeli covert attacks inside Iran, which are tacitly endorsed by the US since Washington never condemns them.
Throughout the years, Iran has been clear that it can reverse its nuclear activity to the limits set by the JCPOA if the US lifts sanctions. But since the Biden administration has refused to lift all Trump-era sanctions, the process to revive the deal has been dragged out.
On Wednesday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the US has been demanding additional concessions from Iran while not providing guarantees on sanctions relief or a guarantee that it wouldn’t withdraw from the agreement again.
The Vienna talks started in April, and the last round concluded on June 20th. The next round won’t start until after President-elect Ebrahim Raisi replaces Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in early August.
Maas also said that the "option" to revive the JCPOA "will not be open to us forever," echoing comments made by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday. Blinken said the process to revive the nuclear deal "cannot go on indefinitely."
As the talks are stalled, there are reports that the US is planning fresh sanctions on Iran, which would likely sabotage the negotiations. The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the US has plans to sanctions Iran’s drone and guided missile programs.