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US to increase pressure on Iran if nuclear diplomacy fails -White House

Nominated National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan participates as US President-elect Joe Biden speaks during a cabinet announcement event in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 24, 2020. - US President-elect Joe Biden introduced November 24, 2020 a seasoned national security team he said was prepared to resume US leadership of the world after the departure of President Donald Trump. "It's a team that will keep our country and our people safe and secure," Biden said, introducing his picks for secretary of state, national security advisor, intelligence chief, and other key cabinet jobs"It's a team that reflects the fact that America is back. Ready to lead the world, not retreat from it," Biden said. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on November 24, 2020 [CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images]

The United States is still pursuing talks on Iran's nuclear program but will work with allies to increase pressure on Iran if diplomacy fails, White House National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, said on Friday.

The talks were close to an agreement until Russia made last-minute demands of the United States, insisting that sanctions imposed on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine would not hurt its trade with Iran, Reuters reports.

US officials have been cautious in their assessment of efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and world powers, which would curb Tehran's nuclear programme in exchange for lifting tough sanctions on Iran's economy.

Substantial progress has been made in resolving a number of issues necessary for Washington to come back to the deal "on a compliance-for-compliance basis," Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One en- route to Poland with President Joe Biden.

READ: Iran's Foreign Minister says nuclear deal closer 'than ever'

"There still are issues left. There still is work to be done," he added. "We are still seeking a diplomatic outcome here that puts Iran's nuclear program back in a box. Of course, if diplomacy doesn't succeed, then we will work very closely with our international partners to increase the pressure on Iran."

Iran Foreign Minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, said on Thursday that the vital issue of sanctions relief for Iran was not yet fully resolved.

"If the United States is pragmatic, a nuclear deal can be reached in the short term," he said during a news conference in Beirut.

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