The seventh round of indirect talks between the US and Iran on the 2015 nuclear deal was “better than it might have been, but worse than it should have been,” a senior State Department official said Friday.
“But I also caution that we should curb enthusiasm because we’re now at best where we were last June,” the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters.
The official also expressed surprise that Iran chose to suspend the talks on Friday, held in Vienna.
“Regardless of whatever progress was made, the pace at which we are moving” is not sufficient, the official added.
Nevertheless, the official said, again, that the US was prepared to continue negotiations to reach a deal.
“The choice really is in Iran’s hands whether it chooses to accelerate its program or… whether it chooses to negotiate seriously and realistically,” the official said.
Earlier, European officials and the European Union envoy Enrique Mora said time was running out on reaching a deal to reactivate the JCPOA.
And Germany, France and the United Kingdom also expressed their disappointment after Iran asked to adjourn the latest round of talks on Friday.
“There has been some technical progress in the last 24 hours, but this only takes us back nearer to where the talks stood in June,” they said, referring to the monthslong stalling by Iran after they elected a new president.
Also, on Friday, senior White House officials warned that the breakout time for Iran to develop a nuclear deal had reached alarming levels.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that the talks were “not going well in the sense that we do not yet have a pathway back” into the JCPOA.