Blinken says nuclear talks with Iran ‘cannot go on indefinitely’

Secretary of State Antony Blinken takes questions during his first press briefing, January 27, 2021. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday that nuclear talks with Iran “cannot go on indefinitely” but that Washington was “fully prepared” to continue negotiations.

The U.S. is indirectly involved in Iran’s talks with world powers to revive a nuclear deal that gave Iran some relief from international sanctions in exchange for limits on its nuclear programme.

The deal was torpedoed in 2018 by then US president Donald Trump, who unilaterally withdrew from the agreement and imposed punishing sanctions.

“We’re committed to diplomacy, but this process cannot go on indefinitely… we look to see what Iran is ready to do or not ready to do and remain fully prepared to return to Vienna to continue negotiations,” Blinken said during a visit to Kuwait on Thursday.

“The ball remains in Iran’s court,” he added.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s government has been holding talks with major powers in Vienna since April on bringing Washington back into the agreement.

But a deal now seems unlikely until after he hands over to President-elect Ebrahim Raisi early next month.

Raisi is an ultraconservative but has expressed support for the nuclear talks, arguing Iran needs an end to U.S. sanctions.

Iran’s ultraconservative camp, which deeply distrusts the United States, has repeatedly criticized Rouhani over the 2015 deal.

(Esta Media Network/AFP)

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