'More Sanctions Will Come' if U.S. Concludes Iran Killed Nuclear Talks, Official Says

A senior State Department official said Iran continues to accelerate its nuclear program in 'pretty provocative ways,' and that China and Russia were taken aback at how far Tehran had walked back its proposals

Reuters
Reuters
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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi delivers a speech at the parliament in Tehran, earlier this week.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi delivers a speech at the parliament in Tehran, earlier this week.Credit: ATTA KENARE / AFP
Reuters
Reuters

Iran has walked back all the compromises it made in previous talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, a senior U.S. State Department official said on Saturday, adding that "more sanctions will come" if Washington concludes Tehran blocked a new agreement.

The official, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, added Iran pocketed the compromises made by others and asked for more in its latest proposals.

Iran also continues to accelerate its nuclear program in "pretty provocative ways," the official said. China and Russia were taken aback at how far Iran had walked back its proposals in last week's talks in Vienna, the official added.

The indirect U.S.-Iranian talks on saving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal broke off on Friday as European officials voiced dismay on at sweeping demands by Iran's new, hardline government. Washington said Tehran "does not seem to be serious".

The seventh round of talks in Vienna is the first with delegates sent by Iran's anti-Western President Ebrahim Raisi on how to resuscitate the agreement under which Iran limited its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions.

Iran came "with proposals that walked back anything – any of the compromises Iran had floated here in the six rounds of talks, pocket all of the compromises that others, and the U.S. in particular, had made, and then asked for more," the senior U.S. official said.

The U.S. official told reporters he did not know when the next round of talks would resume – other officials had said they would reconvene next week – and he stressed the date was less important than Iran's willingness to negotiate seriously.

Rial dips

Meanwhile, the Iranian rial currency dipped on Saturday but remained above historic lows after news that talks with world powers may have run into difficulties.

In Iran, the U.S. dollar was selling for as much as 302,200 rials on the unofficial market on Saturday, up from 294,000 on Friday, according to the foreign exchange site Bonbast.com.

"The market has received a first shock from the nuclear accord (talks)," wrote the economic news website eghtesadnews.com. It said the dollar gained 6,000 rials to 299,500 before rising above 300,000 on Saturday.

In October 2020, the rial currency hit a record low of about 320,000 to a dollar as a drop in oil prices deepened the economic crisis in the country already reeling under U.S. sanctions and the highest COVID-19 death toll in the Middle East.

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