Iranian officials continue to demand wholesale sanctions relief from the United States, a posture that portends a final collapse of talks billed as a “last chance” to rehabilitate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“From our point of view, the sanctions, which are in contradiction and inconsistent with the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action], need to be removed immediately,” Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani told state media. "These sanctions have been imposed either during the Obama, Trump, or Biden administrations. All of them need to be removed.”

That maximalist demand characterizes all recent U.S. sanctions imposed for terrorism-related activity as a violation of the 2015 nuclear deal, a negotiating position that American and European officials have dismissed as a nonstarter. Iranian officials reiterated that demand despite a public warning from the United Kingdom, one of three European signatories to the 2015 deal and a broker of the current “indirect talks” between the U.S. and Iran, that this week represents a “last chance” to achieve a diplomatic breakthrough.

“What we’ve seen so far is Iran losing precious time by advancing totally new positions that are inconsistent with a return to the JCPOA,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters Tuesday while traveling in Indonesia.


In parallel, the lead United Nations nuclear watchdog underscored that Iran has denied international monitors a clear look at the regime’s nuclear program.

“If the international community through us, through the IAEA, is not seeing clearly how many centrifuges or what is the capacity that they may have ... what you have is a very blurred image,” International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Rafael Grossi told the Associated Press in an interview published Tuesday. “It will give you the illusion of the real image. But not the real image. This is why this is so important.”

Grossi’s warnings have haunted the negotiation process, contributing to Western frustrations that the Iranian negotiating team has refused “to get down to real negotiations,” as officials from the U.K., France, and Germany put it.

“Time is running out,” the trio of governments said in a joint statement. “Without swift progress, in light of Iran’s fast-forwarding of its nuclear program, the JCPOA will soon become an empty shell.”


Tehran has dismissed their complaints, citing the fact that the U.S. withdrew from the deal prior to any major breach by Iran. "The party that violated the deal should provide guarantees that it will never happen again," a senior Iranian official told Reuters. "This is their problem, not ours to solve. ... They can find a solution and give us guarantees."