United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday that a nuclear agreement with Iran was “unlikely” in the near term.

Speaking in Mexico City, Blinken said that Iran’s response to a draft agreement put forward by the European Union “is clearly a step backwards.”

He added, “You’ve heard the European Union and in particular you’ve heard the so-called E3—Germany, France and the UK—pronounce themselves on the latest developments. I can’t give you a timeline except to say, again, that Iran seems either unwilling or unable to do what is necessary to reach an agreement and they continue to try to introduce extraneous issues to the negotiation that make an agreement less likely.”

Blinken reiterated that “certainly what we’ve seen in the last week is a step backward, away from the likelihood of any kind of near-term agreement.”

Blinken’s comments echo those made on September 5 by the E.U. High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell. He stated that a new agreement on Iran’s nuclear program is “in danger” after the U.S. and Iranian positions diverged, the Financial Times reported last week.

Borrell, who has been chairing the mediated negotiations between the U.S. and the Islamic Republic, said,  “The positions are not closer,” adding, ”If the process does not converge, then the whole process is in danger.”


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