US Says Ready to Make ‘Difficult Decisions’ Regarding Iran’s Nuclear Program

US State Department Spokesman Ned Price said that Washington is prepared to take “difficult decisions” on Iran’s nuclear deal, but stressed that an agreement is neither “imminent nor is it certain.”

In a press conference, Price told journalists that he could not discuss the specifics of the final remaining issues in the 11 month-old negotiations over restoring the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Amid reports that world powers, including the US, are close to a possible deal, Price said that they are not in the practice of negotiating in public. “We are prepared to make difficult decisions to return Iran’s nuclear program to its JCPOA limits,” Price added.

For the US, he said the main issues remain Iran committing to verifiable limits on its nuclear activities, in return for an easing of sanctions placed on the country.

This comes as Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian expressed optimism that an eventual agreement in the Vienna talks on the revival of the JCPOA is close, reiterating the need for the US to show goodwill in practice.

Amirabdollahian made the remarks during a phone call with his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hossein, where both sides also talked about various mutual issues.

Amirabdollahian also congratulated Hossein on the occasion of Nowruz (Persian New Year), and wished for further strengthening of bilateral ties between the two countries in the New Year.

At the Vienna talks about the removal of sanctions, Amirabdollahian said the parties to the negotiations are close to finalizing a deal.

But Price said that they are not going to respond to specific claims about what sanctions we may or may not be prepared to lift as part of a potential mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA.

“In fact we are preparing equally for scenarios with and without a mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA,” Price added.

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