Official: 'Indirect' Nuclear Talks with Iran Resume This Weekend (Getty Images)
By Charles Kim | Wednesday, 09 June 2021 06:05 PM
“Indirect” talks between the United States and Iran for a nuclear agreement are planned to resume this weekend, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said Wednesday.
Sherman discussed the issue of rejoining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreement with Iran and other nations during a virtual event hosted by the German Marshall Fund, Reuters reported.
"I know that the negotiation will start again over this coming weekend," Sherman said during the forum. "I think there's been a lot of progress made, but, out of my own experience, until the last detail is nailed down, and I mean nailed down, we will not know if we have an agreement.”
Sherman was one of the negotiators of the original JCPOA under President Barack Obama’s administration in 2015.
That agreement was signed by China, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the Unites States to “ensure that Iran’s nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful.”
Former President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the U.S. out of the deal in May 2018. The New York Times reported.
“This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made,” Trump said in an 11-minute address from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House. “It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.”
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said at the time that his country would still abide by the terms of the deal.
President Joe Biden, who was the vice president during Obama’s tenure, campaigned on reentering the agreement and has been talking “indirectly” with Iran since April, according to the Reuters report.
At a similar German Marshall Fund forum in May, Sherman talked about how the “indirect” talks were being conducted.
“So, there is a lot that we have to address here. And Europe has been at the forefront. As you know, the talks are indirect with the United States,” she said in May. “Our team is in one hotel and Europe, Russia, China, and the Iranians are in another hotel. And the Europeans are really shuttling back and forth to try to help get to a place that is important.”
One obstacle for the talks moving forward may have to do with next month’s presidential election in Iran.
“There’s been some progress made, but there’s still a long way to go on this,” she said. “I am hopeful that we can reach an understanding so that the IAEA technical agreement that expires with Iran at the end of May can be extended. I am hopeful that we make enough progress that it can stand as the Iranian election gets underway in June. I do not know if we can get to compliance for compliance agreement and an agreement to continue discussions past that by the deadline of their election.”