The US has never officially stated that it would not negotiate a nuclear agreement with Iran if the country ever broke out of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, but the country has made it very clear that if the US wanted to see an agreement, it would have to give up the pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
In an interview with CBS News on Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry said: “We’re not going to negotiate if we don’t believe we have the means and capability to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear capability.”
Kerry added that the US “cannot continue to be a party to a program that we know has the capability of causing the deaths of millions of people”.
Iranian officials have said that they believe the US wants a deal that will allow Iran to get rid of its nuclear weapons.
Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, said the US will “not be able to negotiate the agreement until it is satisfied that the threat of a military strike against Iran is averted”.
Iran has repeatedly denied the allegations that it has weapons of mass destruction, but has repeatedly made threats against the US in recent months, saying it would attack the US.
On Sunday, US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel reiterated that the United States will not negotiate with Iran unless it agrees to allow inspections and talks.
In the same interview, Zarif also said that the Iranians have not given up on developing nuclear weapons, saying the country is “on the brink of nuclear weapons development”.
The US and Iran have been locked in a standoff for months, with Washington accusing Tehran of pursuing a nuclear weapons programme.
Iran has rejected these claims.
The US-Iranian standoff is seen as a way for Washington to force the Islamic republic to the negotiating table.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has repeatedly said that his country does not have a nuclear programme, but that it is not a “weapons state” and has always insisted that the Islamic Republic would not go ahead with a nuclear attack on the US or Israel.
Iran is currently holding two international nuclear talks with the P5+1 group of world powers, led by the US, Britain, France, Russia and China.
Iran says it has only tested a single nuclear device in 2015, and has previously threatened to use such an explosion to create an atomic weapon.