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Parsi: Iranian nuclear negotiations in 'a very, very sensitive period'

Georgetown University professor Trita Parsi said time is of the essence when it comes to indirect negotiations between the U.S. and Iran to return to an Obama-era nuclear deal given that upcoming elections in Iran could hinder Tehran’s willingness to negotiate.

“We’re actually past the critical date. This should have been done earlier, but better late than never. We have the Iranian elections in just two months, so this is already a very, very sensitive period,” Parsi said Thursday on Hill.TV’s “Rising.” “But the good thing is that there’s movement and there’s good movement.” 

Parsi’s remarks come days after the signatories to the 2015 deal met in Vienna to try to break a stalemate between Washington and Tehran over the steps needed for both sides to return to full compliance with the deal.

Former President TrumpDonald TrumpVeteran accused in alleged border wall scheme faces new charges Arizona Republicans to brush off DOJ concern about election audit FEC drops investigation into Trump hush money payments MORE withdrew the U.S. from the deal in 2018. President BidenJoe BidenAtlanta mayor won't run for reelection South Carolina governor to end pandemic unemployment benefits in June Airplane pollution set to soar with post-pandemic travel boom MORE has said returning to the deal is a foreign policy priority for him. However, the U.S. maintains that limits on uranium enrichment Iran broke after 2018 must again be met for progress to be made, while Tehran insists that sanctions be reduced in order for negotiations to move forward. 

The two sides are now negotiating indirectly via European intermediaries. 

“I think because of the importance of this issue and because of the fact that, rather late but nevertheless, the Biden administration has started to show some real sincerity on this issue and do want to move forward right now,” Parsi said.

“But it is a tougher lift right now because of the Iranian elections.”