The United States and Iran both sounded pessimistic on Thursday about the chances of reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, with Washington saying it had little cause for optimism and Tehran questioning the determination of U.S. and European negotiators, APA reports citing Reuters.
"I have to tell you, recent moves, recent rhetoric, don't give us a lot of cause for ... optimism," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters in Stockholm, saying he could judge in a day or so if Iran would engage in good faith.
Blinken made the comments after Iran provided the European powers who are shuttling between U.S. and Iranian officials in Vienna with drafts on sanctions removal and nuclear commitments, as world powers and Tehran seek to reinstate the tattered pact.
"We went to Vienna with serious determination, but we are not optimistic about the will and the intention of the United States and the three European parties to the deal," Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian was quoted by Iranian media as saying in a conversation with his Japanese counterpart.
While Blinken said "it is not too late for Iran to reverse course and engage meaningfully," it appeared as if both sides might be seeking to avoid the blame if the talks break down.
The comments came on the fourth day of indirect U.S.-Iran talks on bringing both nations back into the deal, under which Iran limited its nuclear program in return for relief from U.S., European Union and U.N. economic sanctions.
Talks resumed on Monday after a five-month hiatus prompted by Iran's election of an anti-Western hardliner as president.
Sources familiar with the matter said Iran and the remaining parties to the deal - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia - might hold a formal meeting on Friday, a step that could mark the end of this week's negotiations.