US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says he believes that "hundreds" of US sanctions on Iran will remain in place, even if the United States returns to the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and some world powers.
The US and Iran have been holding indirect talks aimed at reviving the nuclear deal. The talks have been held intermittently since April in Vienna, Austria. The European Union and others are serving as mediators. The US left the nuclear deal in 2018. The decision was made by former President Donald Trump.
Blinken spoke during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Tuesday. He said that he doesn't know at this stage whether Iran is willing to do what it would need to do in order to come back into nuclear compliance. He hinted that Iran will have to make concessions in order for an agreement to be reached.
Blinken said he anticipates that even in the event of a return to compliance with the nuclear deal, hundreds of sanctions will remain in place, including those imposed by the Trump administration. He said they will remain unless Iran's behavior changes.
The US has cited what it sees as Tehran's support for terrorism, and human rights violations in Iran, as reasons for the sanctions.
Iran has demanded that the US lift all of the more than 1,500 sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.
Blinken's remarks have again highlighted discrepancies in the two countries' positions. They have also underscored how difficult it will be to reach an agreement.