US to send delegation to Vienna for Iran nuclear talks
A delegation of U.S. officials will be going to Vienna later this week to indirectly rejoin nuclear negotiations with Iran, the State Department said on Wednesday.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters that U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley “and his interagency delegation will plan to join the talks over the weekend.”
“We have a good base from which to operate, and it is certainly our hope that Iran will return willing and able to operate from that base to see to it, to test the proposition as to whether we can in fact achieve a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA,” said Price.
Echoing previous assessments from Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Price said negotiators will likely soon know whether or not Iran has returned to negotiate in good faith. He could not say how long this latest round of talks will last.
Negotiations with Iran in Vienna resumed last week, after having been delayed for five months amid the election of a new Iranian president. Soon after the talks restarted, Blinken said Iran was at risk of collapsing the new round of talks.
“I have to tell you, recent moves, recent rhetoric, don’t give us a lot of cause for optimism,” Blinken said to reporters.
When asked about Blinken’s remarks suggesting that Iran is running out of “runway” to rejoin the JCPOA, Price said, “Now there is a difference between a short runway and a nonexistent runway. We continue to believe that a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA is possible.”
“So we are going to go back ready to negotiate indirectly, as it were, with Iran, to seek to build on that progress, to see to it if we can in fact achieve a mutual return to compliance, knowing that diplomacy towards that end is the best option for us,” he added.