The Iranian government is slowly edging closer to revising its hard-line positions and entering into real negotiations regarding its nuclear program, according to a senior official who is in charge of the US economic sanctions program against the Islamic Republic.

Speaking to Army Radio on Monday, US Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen said that, economically, 2012 was one the most difficult years for Iran since the 1979 revolution.

Over the past year, Cohen said, and especially in recent weeks, there have been signs that Iran is interested in finding a solution through negotiations.

US pressure on the Islamic Republic to return to talks has been a great influence, but the window for negotiations will not remain open for long, he added.

It was a very challenging year for the regime, particularly economically, Cohen said, noting that Iran’s oil exports decreased by 50 percent. He said that the international community is united, and warned that if Iran didn’t cooperate, its economic straits would worsen.

Iran, which is widely believed to be developing nuclear weapon technology, has been under US and European economic sanctions since the early summer. This year, a series of high-level meetings between Iran and the P5+1 countries (China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK, and the US) proved unproductive.