“We really don’t know if we’ll get a deal or not, because the United States hasn’t shown the necessary will to reach an agreement,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said.
“What remains are the decisions of Washington,” he added.
Iran has been engaged for a year in negotiations with France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China directly, and the United States indirectly to revive the deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Negotiations in the Austrian capital Vienna aim to bring back the U.S. to the nuclear deal, including through the lifting of sanctions on Iran, and to return Iran to full compliance with its commitments.
The 2015 agreement gave Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program. The U.S. withdrew unilaterally from the accord in 2018 under former president Donald Trump and reimposed tough economic sanctions under a campaign of “maximum pressure”.
The pullout prompted Iran to begin rolling back on its own commitments in retaliation.
“All components of maximum pressure must be removed,” Khatibzadeh said.
“Unfortunately, the United States is trying to maintain some of the elements of maximum pressure,” he added.
The talks have been paused since March 11 after Russia demanded guarantees that Western sanctions imposed following its February 24 military operation in Ukraine would not damage its trade with Iran. Days later, Moscow said it had received the necessary guarantees.
But Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Sunday that during his visit to Moscow, both sides agreed that if an agreement was reached in Vienna, “Russia would not be an obstacle”.
“We were close to concluding technical discussions with the three European countries, but at the same time we faced the crisis and the war in Ukraine,” he added.
Amir-Abdollahian also said that the U.S. was “imposing new conditions” for resurrecting the JCPOA.
“On the issue of lifting sanctions, they (the Americans) are interested in proposing and imposing new conditions outside the negotiations,” the top diplomat said.
“In the last two or three weeks, the American side has made excessive demands that contradict some paragraphs of the text,” he added.
The negotiations had progressed most of the way toward reviving the deal, with different parties pointing to the “final phase”, but pending issues are still unresolved.
“More than one issue is remaining between us and the United States,” Khatibzadeh said.
Among the sticking points is Tehran’s key demand to remove the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) from the U.S. list of “terrorists”.
Last month, U.S. negotiator Robert Malley said the IRGC would remain “sanctioned by American law” even in the event of an agreement.
Earlier this month, Khatibzadeh’s counterpart in the State Department Ned Price said it was Tehran that was not giving way to make a deal possible, but that Washington still believed there was “opportunity to overcome our remaining differences”, AFP wrote.
Iran has time and again stressed that its demands including the removal of all U.S. sanctions in a verifiable manner must be met under any agreement.
“What is important to us is the certain benefit to the Iranian people from the lifting of sanctions,” Khatibzadeh said.