The US said on Monday that it expects indirect talks with Iran about both sides resuming compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to be challenging, and that no immediate breakthrough is anticipated. The negotiations will begin on Tuesday.
Iran and the US announced on Friday that they would hold indirect talks in Vienna on Tuesday as part of a larger attempt to resurrect the nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) (JCPOA).
Face-to-face bilateral talks have been ruled out by Tehran, and State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters at his regular briefing on Monday that the US did not expect any “at this time,” but that it remained open to the possibility.
“We don’t underestimate the scale of the challenges ahead,” Price said. “These are early days. We don’t anticipate an early or immediate breakthrough as these discussions, we fully expect, will be difficult.”
“Diplomacy will take time, and often it is not at the rate that everybody would prefer,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
The issues expected to be addressed, according to Psaki and Price, include the measures Iran would need to take to return to compliance with the agreement, as well as possible relief from US sanctions imposed on Iran for violating the agreement.
According to Price, US Special Envoy for Iran Rob Malley, a Clinton and Obama administration veteran, will lead the US delegation to the talks.
On Tuesday, Iran and the other accord members – minus the US – will meet in Vienna to begin what is likely to be a lengthy process to save the pact.