LONDON – Even after the United States in July departed from its past policy and sent a high-ranking diplomat to Geneva for the latest round of nuclear talks with Iran, the United States and Iran stand no closer to a meeting of the minds.
Saeed Jalili, chief nuclear negotiator for Iran, did not address an offering from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany. The offer was to freeze sanctions in exchange for a freeze by Iran of the construction of nuclear centrifuges, which the United States fears will be used in the production of a nuclear bomb.
The offer presented by the six-nation group was meant to be a vehicle for getting into serious negotiations about a new package of incentives on offer to Iran.
Yet in his response, Jalili merely outlined questions Iran wants answered regarding the incentives. The United States expressed its disappointment.
“We’ve heard a lot of rhetoric from the Iranian president," State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said. "What we’ve been waiting to hear is a response to this generous incentives package. We haven’t heard that yet, so we will proceed as we’ve described."
In the meantime, the United States and its allies are considering moving toward further sanctions against Iran. The U.N. Security Council already has passed three sets of sanctions, and the United States and European Union also have passed unilateral sanctions against Iran.
Iranian officials say the Islamic republic will get by under sanctions, though a member of the opposition told FOX News they have had "an important psychological effect on the state of Iran’s economy, and a devastating impact on the private sector despite the fact that Iran’s coffers are being filled with oil money."
But some experts say Iran will not bow to pressure or demands from outside countries.
"They are constantly making threats against Iran. This itself has a negative effect," said Seyed Mohammad Marandi, head of the North American Studies department at the University of Tehran.
"To set up deadlines for a sovereign country like Iran is completely unacceptable and obviously Iranians will not respond positively to such language," he said. "When the U.S. and its allies recognize Iran as a sovereign and independent country and as an equal then Iranians can talk with them more easily."
It is uncertain how much more talking will take place between the six-nation group and Iran. Western diplomats are displeased with what many are calling Iran’s stalling tactics. But they claim to remain committed to the diplomatic path.
"This is an important opportunity for the Iranian people to normalize their relations with the United States," Gallegos said. "The option is theirs. We’re going to continue with the incentive package. That door remains open."
As Iran continues to forestall a full response, serious talk about further sanctions will likely not take place before next month when the Security Council reconvenes.