Blinken unsure Iran will take necessary steps to lift sanctions

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The Biden administration has not yet seen evidence that Iran will comply with the nuclear commitments needed to lift sanctions, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday.

Why it matters: A new round of indirect talks with Iranian officials will resume in Vienna in the coming days. President Biden has pledged not to lift sanctions unless the country first stops enriching uranium.

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Details: Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, Iran's parliament speaker, said on Sunday that a three-month monitoring agreement with the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency has expired, meaning inspectors can no longer access images of nuclear sites.

  • Following those remarks, United Nations officials announced they would delay a planned press conference in Vienna by Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, AP reported.

  • Blinken will be traveling throughout the Middle East later this week although the State Department has yet to release his official schedule, Al Jazeera reports.

What he's saying: "I think the steps that Iran is taking underscore the urgency of trying to get Iran back into compliance with its obligations under the nuclear deal," Blinken said on CNN. "The deal that stopped their — the dangerous aspects of the nuclear program —the prospect that they could have fissile material for a nuclear weapon on short order."

  • "I think we've actually made progress in clarifying what each side needs to do to get back into full compliance. The outstanding question, the question we don't have an answer to yet, is whether Iran, at the end of the day, is willing to do what is necessary to come back into compliance with this agreement."

Go deeper: U.S. and Iran remain far apart as nuclear talks reach critical stage

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