A White House spokesman said: “While we are disappointed with Iran’s response, we remain ready to engage once again in targeted diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA commitments.”
The spokesman added, “We will consult with our partners in the 5 + 1 group on the best way forward.” The 5 + 1 group refers to the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States – and Germany.
Iran’s rejection of the Biden administration’s initial efforts to move diplomacy and the start of reconciliation between the Iran-US nuclear deal indicates the expected duration and complexity of the diplomatic process to save the deal.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Sunday that the time was not right for a meeting.
“This is not very encouraging,” said a European diplomat familiar with Iran’s refusal. The diplomat said Iran wanted sanctions relief after the meeting.
The Biden administration, which views Iran’s move as part of the diplomatic process, has emphasized that it is flexible in what the talks will look like. But the European diplomat said that the longer it took to bring Iran to the negotiating table, the more difficult it would be to salvage the situation.
The International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran reached a “technical agreement” late last week in an attempt to prevent the complete collapse of the deal, which will be in effect for up to three months. The agreement had to be enforced because Iran continued to commit one of the most flagrant violations of the JCPOA to date: curbing the work of inspectors in a short time.