US not as close to concluding nuclear deal as it would have liked: WH
The White House says President Joe Biden wants to ensure that his country has "other available options" to ensure that Iran does not achieve alleged nuclear weapons capability.
The United States is at the moment not as close to concluding a deal on Iran's nuclear program as it would have liked to have been, White House Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby claimed on Thursday.
"It's clear to us that there are still gaps and we are not as close to concluding a deal as we would have liked to have been," Kirby said during a press briefing.
Biden wants other options to block Iran nuclear weapons capability if deal fails
In the same context, Kirby revealed that US President Joe Biden wants to ensure that his country has "other available options" to ensure that Iran does not achieve alleged nuclear weapons capability, in case efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal fail.
Kirby claimed that Washington would remain active in pushing for the reimplementation of the nuclear agreement but warned that its patience was "not eternal".
"Even as he has fostered and encouraged and pushed for a diplomatic path, (Biden) has conveyed to the rest of the administration that he wants to make sure that we have other available options to us to potentially achieve that solid outcome of the no nuclear weapons capability for Iran," the White House spokesperson indicated.
IAEA claims 'cannot assure' peaceful nature of Iran nuclear program
This comes after the UN's nuclear watchdog said Wednesday it could not guarantee the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program, saying there had been "no progress" in resolving questions over the past presence of nuclear material at alleged "undeclared sites".
In a report seen by AFP, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it was "not in a position to provide assurance that Iran's nuclear program is exclusively peaceful."
It said IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi was "increasingly concerned that Iran has not engaged with the Agency on the outstanding safeguards issues during this reporting period and, therefore, that there has been no progress towards resolving them."
The IAEA has been pressing Iran for answers on the presence of nuclear material at three alleged "undeclared sites".
In a separate report also issued on Wednesday, the IAEA said that Iran was continuing to enrich uranium well over the limits laid down in the 2015 deal, with its stockpile now over 19 times the limit set out in the accord.
The report claimed that Iran's stockpile as of August 21 stood at an estimated 3,940 kilograms, up 131.6 kilograms from the last quarterly report, "over 19 times the limit set out in the accord."
Iran accuses IAEA’s report of bias
In response to the IAEA's report, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Spokesperson Bahruz Kamalvandi stated Thursday that "Iran’s peaceful nuclear program has been the most transparent so far."
The IAEA’s report was "a repetition of previous baseless issues with political purposes," Kamalvandi considered.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the AEOI spokesperson affirmed that Iran will accept verification of its nuclear activities beyond the Safeguards Agreement only if the parties to the 2015 nuclear deal fulfill their contractual obligations and lift imposed sanctions on Tehran.
Kamalvandi bashed certain international media outlets which intentionally misreported the director general's reports in an overly detailed and ambiguous manner, thereby casting doubt on the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program.
Iran urges IAEA to drop "baseless accusations"
It is noteworthy that in late August, Iran's top diplomat Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian demanded that the IAEA drop the issue of what the Western parties claim to be "undeclared sites", as momentum builds to revive a 2015 nuclear deal.
In June, the IAEA's board of governors adopted a resolution censuring Iran for failing to adequately explain the previous discovery of traces of enriched uranium at three sites allegedly "not declared by Tehran" as having hosted nuclear activities.
"We are very serious about safeguard issues, and do not want to allow some of the IAEA's baseless accusations to remain," IRNA quoted Amir-Abdollahian as saying.
Borrell "less optimistic" about reaching Iran nuclear deal
On Monday, the foreign policy chief for the European Union, Josep Borrell, said he is feeling less optimistic about reaching a quick agreement on reviving the Iran nuclear deal compared to just a day or so ago.
"I am sorry to say that I am less confident today than 28 hours before … about the prospects of closing the deal right now," he told reporters in Brussels, according to Reuters.