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Raisi's opening press conference. Photo: Majid Saeedi/Getty Images

With Iran crossing another threshold toward a potential nuclear weapon, the U.S. is still waiting for Tehran's response to proposals made in Vienna to restore the 2015 nuclear deal, U.S. and European officials say.

Why it matters: Big gaps remain after six rounds of nuclear talks. Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed on Tuesday that Iran has taken the unprecedented step of beginning to produce enriched uranium metal — a vital step toward developing nuclear weapons.

State of play: There is just one month left before the inauguration of new hardline president Ebrahim Raisi.

  • It's unclear if a deal will be possible before then, as the U.S. had hoped, or even when the seventh round of talks will take place.

The big picture: As with Iran's other recent violations of the 2015 deal, the U.S. and its European allies have refrained from taking any steps over the uranium metal announcement beyond issuing statements.

What they're saying: State Department spokesperson Ned Price called it “an unfortunate step backwards for Iran" that wouldn't gain Iran any leverage in negotiations, but stressed that "the window for diplomacy remains open."

  • U.S. officials reject claims that the nuclear talks are stalled and say the Iranians are in the middle of their internal consultation process. 
  • The U.K., France and Germany issued a joint statement on Tuesday warning that Iran was "threatening a successful outcome to the Vienna talks despite the progress achieved in six rounds of negotiations."

What’s next: “Everybody is basically waiting for the Iranians," a European diplomat told me.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 12, 2021 - World

Kim Jong-un blames U.S. for tensions as Pyongyang showcases weaponry

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and military members stand next to what appears to be a hypersonic missile at the National Defense Development Exhibition "Self-Defense 2021," according to the Korean Central News Agency. Photo: KCNA

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un declared while attending a weapons exhibition that the country had "invincible" defense capabilities as he accused the U.S. of being the source of regional tensions, state media reported Tuesday.

Why it matters: Kim said in a speech at Monday's event that the country was strengthening its weapons arsenal but didn't want a war, per the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congressman criminally charged with lying to feds

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) has been indicted on charges he falsified records and lied to federal investigators probing an illegal foreign donation scheme, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

Driving the news: DOJ says a Fortenberry associate, who later cooperated with investigators, informed him he'd likely received illegal donations from an intermediary for a foreign national, but that Fortenberry denied any knowledge of such a scheme when contacted by the FBI.

"Assassin's Creed," but for schools

"Viking Age: Discovery Tour." Image via Ubisoft

For the third time since 2018, Ubisoft is releasing a nonviolent version of its latest “Assassin’s Creed” game as part of a unique effort to turn one of the medium’s most popular series into an educational tool.

Driving the news:Viking Age: Discovery Tour” transforms last year’s “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” from a bloody 150-hour game about Viking conquest in 9th century England into a peaceful four-hour game about merchants and monks.