The United States has quietly resumed indirect talks with Iran in an effort to constrain Tehran’s nuclear program, multiple sources told CNN.
The talks resumed late last year, months after an effort to revive the Iran nuclear deal collapsed. The Trump administration withdrew from the landmark agreement in 2018 and Iran has increasingly grown its nuclear program in violation of the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Although sources say there have been some indications of progress, one source said “we’re just not there yet” on an agreement, and both the US and Iran have denied that an interim deal has been reached.
Stakes are high for the renewed efforts, which come ahead of the 2024 US presidential election and will face scrutiny from lawmakers and a key US ally in the Middle East: Israel.
The US is also engaged in trying to secure the release of multiple Americans who have been detained in Iran – something the administration has called a top priority. There are three Americans who have been designated as wrongfully detained who are imprisoned in Iran: Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharghi, and Morad Tahbaz. An American resident, Shahab Dalili, is also detained.
Biden administration officials have for months said that Iran’s breakout time – how long it would need to produce enough weapons-grade material for one nuclear bomb – had dwindled to a matter of weeks, with one Defense Department official saying in February that it could be as short as 12 days. The breakout time does not mean that Iran could produce an actual bomb in that period.
Source : CNN