US’s Iran envoy Rob Malley has met several times with Iran’s UN ambassador Amir Saeid Iravani, amid reports that the 2015 nuclear accord “is not on the US government's agenda”, The Financial Times reported.
The discussions focused primarily on the possibility of a prisoner exchange with Iran, a person close to the administration said. Tehran holds at least three US-Iranian nationals
Tehran last week agreed to a prisoner exchange with Belgium and separately released two Austrians held in Iran. A successful US prisoner exchange could improve the environment for any nuclear talks.
Diplomats and analysts say potential options include some form of interim deal, or a de-escalatory move by both sides under which Iran reduces its enrichment levels in return for some sanctions relief.
According to The Financial Times, US and EU powers have resumed discussions on how to engage with Iran over its nuclear activity "as fears mount that the Tehran's aggressive expansion of its program risks triggering a regional war."
“There is recognition that we need an active diplomatic plan to tackle Iran’s nuclear program, rather than allowing it to drift,” said a western diplomat to the newspaper.
“The thing that worries me is that Iran’s decision-making is quite chaotic and it could stumble its way into war with Israel,” he added.
Iran has been enriching uranium to 60 per cent purity, and in January the International Atomic Energy Agency discovered particles enriched to about 84 per cent, which is almost weapons grade, at the Fordow plant.
IAEA also said that Iran’s estimated stockpile of enriched uranium had reached more than 23 times the limit set out in nuclear deal.
As of 13 May, Iran’s total enriched uranium stockpile was estimated at 4,744.5 kilograms (10,459 pounds). The limit in the 2015 deal was 202.8 kilograms.
The report also said that Iran is continuing its enrichment of uranium to levels higher than the 3.67 percent limit in the deal, AFP reported.
The stockpile of uranium enriched up to 20 percent is now believed to be 470.9 kilograms — up 36.2 kg since the last report in February — while the amount enriched up to 60 percent stands at 114.1 kilograms, an increase of 26.6 kg.