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US hopes Iran talks will resume but wary of nuclear progress “dangerous”

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One official said the US hopes to resume nuclear talks with Iran soon.

Washington:

A senior US official said on Monday that the US hopes to resume nuclear talks with Iran soon.

“We are hopeful that we can be back in Vienna (for talks) in a very short time,” the senior administrative official said on condition of anonymity.

A spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry said on Monday that a new round of discussions could begin in early November.

Iran’s nuclear activity will be at the center of talks between the US and Israel national security teams in Washington on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Israel’s National Security Adviser Eyal Hulta and his White House counterpart, Jake Sullivan, will attend a meeting of the US-Israel Strategic Consultative Group, a grouping of representatives from the two countries’ diplomatic, military and intelligence agencies.

President Joe Biden – who reversed his predecessor Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States from international talks to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions – is keen to resolve the impasse diplomatically.

“The way for talks in Vienna is open,” the US official said. “Iran is sending signals to several parties that they are preparing to return to Vienna and of course we will have to see if they engage constructively in that process.”

The official said, despite Israel’s skepticism, the Biden administration “believes very strongly that the diplomatic route is best.”

However, the official said the White House and Israel’s new government agree that Iran has made rapid progress since Trump abandoned international efforts to monitor Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

Tehran insists it does not want nuclear weapons, only an energy industry.

“We have a general assessment of the extent to which Iran’s nuclear program has broken down dramatically since the last administration abandoned the Iran nuclear deal,” the official said.

“The breakout time, i.e. the enriched uranium reserves and other ways to look at it, it’s gone over a period of about 12 months to a few months. So obviously that’s pretty dangerous.”

The official said the United States believes that diplomacy “would be the best way to put a ceiling on the program and to withdraw the gains made by Iran in recent years.”

However, there is no movement to lift the sanctions and “there are other avenues” if diplomacy doesn’t work.

“We think the responsibility lies with the Iranian side right now,” the official said.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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