The Biden administration is still seeking a return to mutual compliance to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran but is "preparing for a world in which there is no return" to the landmark agreement, a senior State Department official said.
According to CNN, the official's bleak assessment following the latest round of talks in Vienna echoed strong concerns by US and European officials that the new Iranian negotiating team had not come to the table with "serious" proposals to return to adherence the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) -- an agreement with which Tehran has moved further and further away from compliance.
"It is not our preference," said the official, who briefed reporters by phone, referring to a lack of compliance. "Every day that goes by is a day where we come closer to the conclusion that they don't have in mind a return to the JCPOA in short order."
"What they have in mind is what you could call their own 'Plan B,' which is to use the talks as a cover, as a front, for continued buildup of their nuclear program to serve as leverage for a better deal for them," they said.
A seventh round of negotiations in the Austrian capital aimed at salvaging the nuclear deal -- which the US abandoned under President Donald Trump -- concluded on Friday. The US and Iran do not negotiate directly at these talks.