Just days after US Vice President Joe Biden said his country was willing to have direct talks with Iranian officials, Washington imposed more sanctions on Iran.
The economic penalties have left the country with a depreciated currency, rising unemployment, and a shortage in medicine.
Despite the impact of the sanctions on their lives, a recent Gallup poll found that 63 percent of Iranians surveyed want their country's nuclear programme to continue. And nearly half say responsibility for the sanctions lies with the US.
In a statement released this week, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on the US to explain "what it means to offer talks while simultaneously continuing pressure and threats".
So, can direct talks be successful amidst sanctions and "all options" remaining on the table?
To discuss this, Inside Story Americas with presenter Shihab Rattansi is joined by guests: Flynt Leverett, a professor of international affairs at Penn State University, and the co- author of the book, Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran; Ali Reza Eshraghi, a media and communication consultant at the Institute for War and Peace Reporting; and Ambassador John Limbert, the former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran.