Jake Sullivan, the US national security adviser, says â€˜all sidesâ€™ are willing to talk â€˜seriouslyâ€™ about a pathway back into the nuclear deal.
IndirectÂ negotiations between the United States andÂ IranÂ on a return to the 2015 IranÂ nuclearÂ dealÂ are focused on whatÂ US sanctions will need to end and the stepsÂ IranÂ must take to resume its obligations, a senior Biden White House official said on Friday.
â€œWeâ€™ve seen willingness of all sides, including the Iranians, to talk seriously about sanctions relief restrictions and a pathway back into the JCPOA,â€ Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, said on Friday.
Sullivanâ€™s comments to a US group followed the start this week of a third round ofÂ talksÂ in Vienna in which representatives of Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the European Union shuttle between US and Iranian delegations.
â€œIâ€™m not going to characterise the substance of the negotiations at this point because they are in â€¦ an unclear place,â€ Sullivan told an Aspen Security Forum webinar.
â€œIt is still uncertain as to whether this will culminate in aÂ dealÂ in Vienna,â€ he said.
The JCPOA is an acronym for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which is the formal title of the 2015 United Nations-backed deal between Iran and world powers banning Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Former President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the accord in 2018 and reimposed harsh economic sanctions on Iran.Â In response, Tehran has begun to enrich uranium at higher grades approachingÂ weapons levels.
President Joe Biden has pledged to return to theÂ deal.Â IranÂ refused directÂ talksÂ on resuming compliance in exchange for the lifting ofÂ US sanctions.
Sullivan was asked whether theÂ Iranians are negotiating in good faith.
â€œI guess good faith is always in the eye of the beholder,â€ he said. â€œTheÂ Iranians have come in a serious way to have serious discussions about details and the teams are working through those details now.â€
The talks have revolved around â€œhow to sequence the processâ€ of the US lifting sanctions and Iran stopping its enrichment work, Sullivan said.
In recent days, top Israeli officials met in Washington with Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to convey Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuâ€™s concerns about advancements in Iranâ€™s nuclear programme.
The Aspen Security Forum is an annual non-partisan conference held in the US state of Colorado that focused this year on Bidenâ€™s first 100 days in office. In addition, speakers included Bidenâ€™s Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, former Trump Deputy Secretary of State Steve Biegun, and former Obama National Security Advisor Tom Donilon.
The US can use â€œsticks and carrotsâ€ to influence the protection of human rights in Afghanistan after US and NATO troops and foreign contractors are withdrawn on Bidenâ€™s orders later this year, Deputy Secretary Hicks said.
Sullivan added the Biden Administration believes the US will have â€œsufficient capabilityâ€ to â€œdisrupt threatsâ€ in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the White House is continuing to make plans for a summit between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin to be held sometime in the next few months in a European nation.
And China is noting renewed US economic growth and reinvigorated alliances in the Indo-Pacific, Sullivan said. â€œIt is making them think twice about whether the US is on its way down,â€ he said.