US dropped JCPOA talks, readying a military option against Iran
Although the White House has not yet confirmed that the talks have reached a dead-end, recent statements sure indicate so.
In an op-ed published by Axios Israeli correspondent Barak Ravid on Monday, US envoy for Iran Rob Malley said the Biden administration is not currently looking to revive the JCPOA deal under the pretext of Tehran's so-called "crackdown" on protesters, its alleged involvement in supplying Russia with drones, and its stance on Iran's nuclear program.
Although the White House has not yet confirmed that the talks have reached a dead-end, Malley's statements surely hint that this sentiment is present in Washington.
Malley stated that there has been no real progress in the talks since Iranian officials rejected an EU proposal and presented more demands in late August-early September. However, it is noteworthy that the additional demands Malley is referring to were set the moment the talks were initiated.
Washington is currently focused on two key issues: Iran's alleged involvement in the Ukraine conflict, and the protests that erupted over the death of Mahsa Amini.
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Malley said the nuclear talks are "not our focus right now".
"It is not on our agenda. We are not going to focus on something which is inert when other things are happening…and we are not going to waste our time on it… if Iran has taken the position it has taken."
Our message to Iran is simple: Stop killing your people and stop transferring drones to Russia to kill Ukrainians. pic.twitter.com/mCpYHlJa4p— Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley (@USEnvoyIran) October 28, 2022
According to Ravid, another source had told Axios the US' stance on the JCPOA talks was even tougher, arguing that in light of the accusations raised against Iran, "if Iran came back to the table today and said it wanted a nuclear deal, the US was unlikely to move forward."
The official further said that the White House was already "looking at the situation as if there is no nuclear deal" and even worse - the US is readying "a ready military option."
Rob Malley said the US "hasn't given up on diplomacy to solve the Iranian nuclear issue", but pointed out that the White House may have to resort to military means to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
Meanwhile, the US will continue to sanction Iran and punish it for its supposed "crackdown" and its diplomatic alignment with Russia.
"There is nothing we are not doing because we are thinking about a potential nuclear deal in the future. We are not tying our hands," he said.
Read more: Iran not an exporter of weapons to Russia or Ukraine: Kanaani
On October 22, Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that Tehran had received a message from the US in which they expressed a hurry in reaching an agreement.
"We have made it clear that the accusations that the [International Atomic Energy] Agency has leveled against Iran in the nuclear sphere must be settled," he underlined.
"We would not agree to strike an agreement with the IAEA intending to constantly put pressures on the Islamic Republic of Iran from the political path, like a bone of contention," the foreign minister added.
He also underscored that during the exchange of messages between the US and Iran, the former tried to "fan the flames of the issues" that occurred in the past few days in Iran.
"I think they [Americans] seek to put political and psychological pressures in order to win concessions in the negotiations. We will not make any concession to the US," Amir-Abdollahian said.
"We will move within the framework of logic and within the framework of an agreement in which the Islamic Republic's red lines are observed. But at the same time, we won't leave the negotiating table," the senior diplomat stressed.
"Our assessment of the messages from the American side for us, even in the recent days, is that not only is it the priority of Americans [to reach a deal], but also they are in a hurry [to do so]," he added.
On October 25, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said the US should come to a sound and final decision to remove sanctions on Iran and reach an agreement, but instead, it delays and wastes time in reviving a deal it has itself vetoed.
US President Joe Biden took office with hopes of restoring the agreement. However, his aides rejected the Iranian demands, which include that the UN nuclear watchdog closes its probe of alleged nuclear activity.
Additionally, the Biden administration placed on Wednesday fresh sanctions on Iranian officials for allegedly violating human rights in the riots, deliberately practicing double standards when it comes to other states, including itself, violating human rights.
On October 27, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he saw little chance of salvaging the nuclear agreement with Iran.
"Right now I don't see a near-term prospect for that moving forward," he said.
"Why? Because the Iranians will continue to try to inject extraneous issues into discussions over the JCPOA that are a dead end," Blinken told an event at Bloomberg News.
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