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Blinken says nuclear deal negotiations with Iran ‘cannot go on indefinitely’ as indirect talks drag

During a news conference in Kuwait on Thursday, Blinken expressed dissatisfaction at the lack of resolution over negotiations on Iran’s nuclear deal. The secretary of state upheld that “the ball remains in Iran’s court”.

“We’re committed to diplomacy, but this process cannot go on indefinitely… we look to see what Iran is ready to do or not ready to do and remain fully prepared to return to Vienna to continue negotiations”, Blinken asserted.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who makes the final call on Tehran’s affairs, asserted that the Islamic republic will not accept Washington’s “stubborn” demands and refuted the inclusion of any other issues to the deal.

On Wednesday Khamenei warned Tehran’s incoming ultra-conservative president Ebrahim Raisi to not place trust in the West and the US. Khamenei advised Raisi to remember the experience of the current president, Hassan Rouhani, and how “in this administration it became clear that trusting the West isn’t helpful”.

Iran has been in indirect talks with the US in Vienna since April in an attempt to revive negotiations over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The accord promises to alleviate economic sanctions on Tehran on the grounds that Iran reduces its nuclear capability. Talks broke off last month during the Iranian presidential elections. Tehran stated that it needed time to deal with the transition of leadership.

Washington unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018 under former President Donald Trump, who later imposed fresh sanctions on the Islamic republic despite Iran abiding by the deal. As a result, Iran ramped up its uranium enrichment to unprecedented levels in violation of the terms of the agreement.

Rouhani announced earlier in July that the country is capable, if necessary, of enriching its uranium up to 90% purity, which is the minimum percentage required for producing nuclear weapons.

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