A top member of the U.S. team negotiating with Iran has left the role after urging a tougher stance on nuclear talks.
A State Department official confirmed that Richard Nephew, known as the architect of sanctions on Tehran, had stepped down as U.S. Deputy Special Envoy for Iran.
At the same time, the Wall Street Journal reported that two other negotiators had stepped aside because they wanted a harder negotiating position.
The team’s policy differences reportedly involved the enforcement of existing sanctions and even pulling out of the talks altogether.
Their departures, another blow to President Joe Biden’s foreign policy goals and a State Department grappling with Russian diplomats who appear poised for conflict in Ukraine, come at a critical time in talks that resumed two months ago.
Western diplomats say they hope for a breakthrough in the coming weeks – but critical differences remain between the two sides and Britain on Tuesday warned of a looming impasse.