U.S. officials said their current priority is supporting Iranian protesters rather than pursuing stalled talks with Tehran on the troubled 2015 Iran nuclear deal that President Trump canceled and President Biden vowed to revive.
The multinational nuclear deal “is not our focus right now,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters Wednesday. “The Iranians have made it very clear that this is not a deal that they have been prepared to make. A deal certainly does not appear imminent.”
He said the focus of the Biden administration in Iran is “shining a spotlight” on the anti-government protests that erupted following the Sept. 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while she was in the custody of Iran’s morality police.
“Right now, our focus … is on the remarkable bravery and courage that the Iranian people are exhibiting through their peaceful demonstrations, through their exercise of their universal right to freedom of assembly and to freedom of expression,” Mr. Price said.
Mr. Trump rejected the nuclear deal in 2018 and reimposed heavy economic sanctions that curbed Tehran’s oil exports and hobbled its economy. Nearly two years of talks since Mr. Biden took office have yet to clinch a revived deal to lift economic sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran‘s suspect nuclear programs.