“While we are disappointed with Iran’s response, we remain ready to once again engage in meaningful diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to fulfillment of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) commitments,” said a White House spokesman.
“We will consult with our P5 + 1 partners on the best way forward,” the spokesperson added. The P5 + 1 refers to the permanent members of the UN Security Council – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – and Germany.
Iran’s rejection of the Biden administration’s first effort to revive diplomacy and begin getting both Iran and the United States back into compliance with the nuclear deal indicates how long and complicated the diplomatic process aimed at saving the deal is expected to be .
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Sunday that now is not a good time for the meeting.
“This is not very encouraging,” said a European diplomat familiar with Iran’s rejection. Iran wants a guarantee of sanctions relief after the meeting, the diplomat said.
The Biden administration, which views this move by Iran as part of the diplomatic process, has maintained that they are flexible about the format of these talks. But the longer it takes to bring Iran to the negotiating table, the more difficult it will be to salvage the situation, the European diplomat said.
The International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran reached a “technical understanding” last weekend in an effort to avoid a complete breakdown of the agreement that will be in effect for up to three months. The deal had to be implemented because Iran pushed forward with one of its most egregious violations of the JCPOA to date: curbing inspectors on short notice.