As considerations for a nuclear deal with Iran continue to be weighed, “an agreement is neither imminent nor is it certain,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said Monday.
Although the State Department says progress has been made in recent weeks, the details or even topics of the exchanges between U.S. and Iranian negotiators are not being made public.
Since there have not been public updates on the details or progress, lawmakers on both sides as well as media commentators have been skeptical of how the deal is being negotiated and what it will include.
With regards to timing, there may be a lull in the talks now as the Iranian negotiators usually take time off for the holiday of Nowruz, according to Price.
On the table are sanctions, detainment of Western nationals, Iran’s support of Houthi terrorists, and a U.S. desire to lengthen Iran’s ‘breakout time,’ which is the time it would take to accumulate enough material to make a nuclear weapon.
The breakout time was about a year under the previous 2015 Join Comprehensive Plan of Action limits, according to the State Department.
JCPOA, the Obama-era nuclear deal between Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the U.S., which aimed to restrict the Iran regime’s weapons development program failed to do so the first time around.
In addition to dodging inspections, Iran deviated from JCPOA restrictions since the last U.S. inspection for compliance under President Trump in 2017. The U.S. then withdrew from the agreement in 2018.
Iran’s current breakout time is estimated to be as short as a few weeks. “We are prepared to make difficult decisions to return Iran’s nuclear program to its JCPOA limits,” Price said.
Reaching an agreement at this time would hinge on whether Iran was interested in voluntarily returning to compliance with JCPOA limits, the State Department said Tuesday.
“We want to see… that Iran is verifiably and permanently barred from ever obtaining a nuclear weapon,” Price said, adding that President Biden remains committed to preventing Iran from going nuclear with or without a return to the original JPCOA agreement.