Blinken says 'not overly optimistic' about results of Iran nuclear deal discussions

Talks in Vienna are ongoing and the U.S. Secretary of State is unsure they're leading anywhere.

Updated: April 7, 2022 - 10:27am

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken now says he's not "overly optimistic" about the U.S. being able to reach a deal with Iran to revive a 2015, multi-nation nuclear agreement, following weeks of speculation that such an agreement was close to being reached.

For the better part of a year, the United States has been in sporadic talks with Iran about restoring some version of the deal, from which former President Trump withdrew in 2018. 

"I would say simply that I’m not overly optimistic at the prospects of actually getting an agreement to conclusion," Blinken on Wednesday told NBC News.

"Despite all the efforts we put into it and despite the fact that I believe ... our security would be better off. We’re not there," he also said without going into further detail about what is stalling the talks.

Blinken was in Brussels this week meeting with NATO foreign ministers for talks about the Russia's invasion of Ukraine, though he also planned to speak with European partners – including Britain, France and Germany – about possible next steps regarding the nuclear deal.

The original deal eased sanctions on Iran in exchange for the country winding down its efforts to name a nuclear weapon.

Since Trump's withdrawal from the deal, Iran has reportedly continued to enrich uranium at levels forbade by the original deal and expand its nuclear program.

U.S. officials have said that though they are focused on an agreement, they will not allow talks to drag on indefinitely as Tehran continues to expand its nuclear arsenal unchecked. 

Iranian officials are blaming the Biden administration holding up the agreement. Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian recently tweeted: "If there is a pause in the course of the Vienna talks, it's due to the American side's excessive demands."