Top US envoy for nuclear negotiations in Vienna, Robert Malley, said that President Joe Biden’s administration “cannot wait forever” for Iran to decide it wants to resume talks on returning to the 2015 nuclear deal that former US President Donald Trump quit in 2018.
In an interview with Bloomberg News TV, Malley said that the United States had not received any indication that the new Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, was ready to commit to a seventh round of talks hosted by Vienna, to return to compliance with the nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“We can’t wait forever as Iran continues its nuclear advances because at some point their advances will be such as to make a return to the JCPOA much less valuable to the US than it would otherwise be,” Malley said, although he added that the US was “prepared to be patient.”
Western sources, who spoke to Bloomberg, said that the efforts made by the United States and Europe to persuade Iran to return to nuclear negotiations, have greatly diminished, due to the support that Tehran’s leaders receive from Beijing and Moscow.
A senior official from the China National Petroleum Corporation recently arrived in Tehran to discuss joint projects and expand bilateral relations. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Vienna last week to meet with the director general of the IAEA. While Moscow has made it clear that it expects Iran to resume allowing the agency to conduct inspections, it has not put any new pressure on Tehran.
While no official date has been set for a seventh round of negotiations in Vienna aimed at reviving the nuclear agreement, talks are expected to take place on the sidelines of the IAEA General Conference, which will be held on September 21 in Vienna, according to officials who spoke to Bloomberg.