According to top US officials, efforts to bring Tehran back to the terms of the Iran nuclear deal are at risk, forcing the United States and its allies to consider non-diplomatic options.
For months, the US, along with other major powers, negotiated the 2015 deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) through a series of indirect talks in Vienna. But those talks have stalled, with key officials in Washington now fast approaching the time for warnings.
“With every passing day and Iran’s refusal to engage in good faith, the runway gets shorter,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters during a press availability with his Israeli and United Arab Emirates counterparts in Washington on Wednesday. Is.”
“We believe that diplomacy is the most effective way to do this, but it takes two to engage in diplomacy, and we have not seen a willingness from Iran to do so,” he said. “If Iran does not change course, we are ready to turn to other options.”
Washington’s special envoy for Iran offered an equally difficult assessment during a virtual conversation early Wednesday.
“We are realistic. We know there is a good chance that Iran is going to choose a different path,” said Robert Malle, when asked about the expectation that Tehran would return to compliance with the Iran nuclear deal.
“We have to prepare for a world where there are no sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program and we have to consider options to deal with it,” Maley said. “Every day we are getting a piece of Iran’s answer, every day where they are not coming back to the table, every day where they are making statements about how little was achieved in Vienna.”
The United States withdrew from the agreement in 2018 under then-US President Donald Trump, as part of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign to limit Iran’s nuclear ambitions and describe it as Tehran’s deadly activities. .
In response to the US withdrawal, Iran swiftly abandoned its commitments under the agreement by enriching uranium to high levels of purity and holding large reserves of enriched nuclear material.
To entice Tehran to return to the nuclear deal, Mali said Washington offered to lift all sanctions “inconsistent with the JCPOA”.
However, he said that although the proposal seemed to generate some initial momentum, any progress that followed the election of the new Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi was halted.
On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Blinken warned that Iran’s leadership was playing a dangerous game.
“We are united in the resolution that Iran cannot be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon,” he told reporters. “If Iran does not change course, we are ready to turn to other options.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said those other options were at the core of talks Wednesday at the State Department with Blinken and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
“Every day that passes, every delay in talks brings Iran closer to a nuclear bomb,” Lapid said. “Sometimes the world has to show its hand to make sure Iran understands the consequences of running to become a threshold country.”