A truly decisive period has come, said the head of the press service of the department, Ned Price.

The U.S. authorities believe that the consultations taking place in Vienna on the restoration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program are at the final stage, it will soon become clear whether they will be successful. This was stated at a regular briefing by the head of the press service of the U.S. Department of State, Ned Price.

“According to our estimates, we are now at the very last stage of <…> complex negotiations with the participation of key stakeholders. This is a truly decisive period during which we will be able to determine whether a return to mutual compliance with obligations under the JCPOA is foreseen or not,” the representative of the American Foreign Ministry said. “We are at a crucial stage, because the window of opportunity will close very soon,” he explained.

Price was asked whether a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian is possible on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, which will be held on February 18-20. “I would not expect a meeting between the Secretary of State and the Foreign Minister, at least in Munich. But I will note that direct negotiations between the United States and Iran would be in our interests, we have been saying this for a long time,” he said.

“We believe that in the context of consultations in Vienna, direct negotiations would be useful to us. They would be useful from the point of view of our efforts to ensure the return <…> to mutual compliance with obligations under the JCPOA,” Price added. When asked whether Tehran is ready for this, the head of the press service of the Department of State replied: “I think we will get a much more complete picture of this in the coming days. This should happen in the coming days, because we are at a crucial stage when all parties must make political commitments. This is necessary to return to compliance with the obligations under the JCPOA.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki also said at a regular briefing on Wednesday that the U.S. “would welcome the possibility of direct interaction with the Iranians.” As she stressed, Washington “aims at such agreements that would take into account key issues of importance to all parties.” Psaki added that if agreements “cannot be reached in the coming weeks,” it will “become impossible for the United States to return to the JCPOA because of Iran’s progress in the nuclear sphere.”