A senior member of the U.S. team negotiating with Iran has left the role amid a report of differences of opinion on the way forward, as the urgency to salvage the 2015 Iran nuclear deal intensifies.
A State Department official confirmed on Monday that Richard Nephew, U.S. Deputy Special Envoy for Iran, is no longer on the negotiating team, but was still a State Department employee. The official did not give a reason for the change but said personnel moves were ‘very common’ a year into an administration.
The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that Nephew left after differences of opinion within the U.S. negotiating team on Iran. The paper said he had advocated a tougher posture in the current negotiations.
The departure comes at a critical time as the United States and its European allies last week said there were just weeks to salvage the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).