US Not Optimistic About Vienna Discussions
US State Department Spokesman Ned Price on Monday tempered expectations ahead of Tuesday’s conference in Vienna aimed at reviving the nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers, which for the first time in years will see American and Iranian officials (sort of) conduct nuclear discussions. “We don’t underestimate the scale of the challenges ahead,” Price said, adding: “These are early days. We don’t anticipate an early or immediate breakthrough as these discussions, we fully expect, will be difficult.” The indirect talks, which will be mediated between Washington and Tehran by other world powers, are aimed at resuscitating the largely defunct 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the official name of the nuclear agreement that rolls back crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic in exchange for the curbing of Iran’s nuclear program. Iran has refused to hold bilateral meetings with the US, and also has ruled out any piecemeal lifting of sanctions by the White House in return for halting some of its uranium enrichment, demanding all sanctions be removed before it returns to compliance with the 2015 pact. Former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018, and Iran has since responded by breaching several of its main clauses.