A State Department spokesman said the United States was “willing and able” to resume talks as soon as Iran agreed.
The Biden administration has called for a return to “imminent” talks in Vienna to revive Iran’s nuclear deal, but said it was “up to the Iranians” to resume talks.
State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters Thursday that Washington is willing to continue talks as soon as Tehran agrees to rejoin the talks, stressing that the path to diplomacy is still open.
Negotiations have been on the ice since June, shortly after the election of Iran’s conservative President Ibrahim Raisi.
“We have made it very clear that we are ready, willing and will have a negotiating partner with us as soon as we return to Vienna,” Price said.
The 2015 Multilateral Nuclear Agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), saw Iran withdraw its nuclear program in exchange for lifting international sanctions against its economy.
Former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2011 as part of his maximum pressure campaign against Iran, in response to which uranium is being enriched beyond the limits set by the deal.
President Joe Biden has said he is seeking a return to the 2015 deal, in talks with the Obama administration in which he was vice president. But six rounds of indirect talks in the Austrian capital have failed to pave the way for a JCPOA recovery.
On Thursday, Price said the Biden administration would decide on the talks where they stopped, suggesting that Washington was opposed to resuming talks with Tehran’s new government from the beginning.
“After the sixth round, it is important for the teams to come back together to resume where we left off in Vienna, so that we can resume this seventh round based on what we have achieved so far,” he said.
Rice’s government has spoken out strongly against the United States, saying any talks would result in the lifting of all sanctions against the country.
Last month, Iranian Foreign Minister Hussein Amirabadullahian said Iran would return to the Vienna talks “soon”.
Price said he hoped the Iranian government’s definition of “soon” matched that of the US administration, claiming that the process could not continue “indefinitely.”
“We firmly believe that we must act quickly; We need to work with honesty and speed if we can achieve the reciprocal return that we were sincere and unwavering to achieve, ”he said.
In a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Yale Hulata earlier this week, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Washington was prepared for the possibility that efforts to restore the JCPOA could fail.
The Israeli government has been vocal in its opposition to the JCPO since it was signed six years ago.
“Mr. Sullivan emphasizes President Biden’s fundamental commitment to Israel’s security and to ensuring that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons,” said a statement from the U.S. National Security Council describing the talks.
Mr. Sullivan explained that the administration believes that diplomacy is the best way to achieve that goal, and noted that the president has made it clear that the United States is ready to move on to other options if diplomacy fails.