The White House on Wednesday expressed frustration with the state of Iran’s nuclear program, even as negotiators have been back at the table in Vienna for almost two weeks.
Diplomats from countries that remain in the 2015 nuclear deal — Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — are on the eighth round of talks, working with Tehran to revive the accord, which had sought to limit Iran’s nuclear ambitions in exchange for lifting of economic sanctions.
American diplomats are present at the nuclear talks in Vienna but they are not in direct talks with Iranians. The accord collapsed in 2018 when then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from the deal and re-imposed sanctions on Iran.
The talks are currently at a critical point, with some negotiators saying modest progress has been made but warning time is running out to resurrect the deal.
At the briefing Wednesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki again laid the blame for the crisis at the feet of former President Donald Trump.
“None of the things we’re looking at now, Iran’s increased capability and capacity, their aggressive actions that they have taken through proxy wars around the world, would be happening if the former president had not recklessly pulled out of the nuclear deal, with no thought as to what might come next,” Psaki said.
“Because of the last administration pulling out of the nuclear agreement, now, Iran’s program has been rapidly accelerating. Iran directly attacked our partners in the Gulf and its proxies, began attacking U.S. troops again in Iraq, and the United States…had become totally isolated internationally,” she continued.
Psaki said the administration hasn’t given up hope, saying it’s “eager to see the diplomatic path move forward.”
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