Biden told team to “prepare” for failed nuclear talks with Iran: Psaki
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President Biden has told his national security team to “prepare” if diplomatic talks fail to prevent Iran from developing its nuclear capabilities.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that Biden continued to believe that the best way to stop Iran’s nuclear program was through diplomatic channels.
But after months of indirect negotiations with Iran, the administration’s patience seems to be running out of steam.
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“In view of the continued progress of Iran’s nuclear program, the president has asked his team to prepare in case diplomacy fails,” Psaki told reporters. “We have to look to other options and that requires preparation.
“We have made it clear to Iran that the only way out of sanctions is nuclear compliance,” she said, adding that the Biden administration had kept in place all the sanctions inherited from the previous administration.
“If diplomacy cannot start quickly and Iran’s nuclear program continues to accelerate, we will have no choice but to take further steps to further restrict Iran’s revenue-producing sectors,” the White House chief spokesman said.
The administration is taking steps to show Iranian officials that it is serious about its intention to weigh on Tehran economically.
Led by the director of the Bureau of Foreign Assets Control, Andrea Gacki, a delegation of Treasury officials will visit the United Arab Emirates next week to ensure that existing sanctions against Iran are respected.
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Psaki’s comments come as the European Union and a Russian envoy meet with Iranian negotiators in Vienna to try to repair the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Biden made his administration a top priority to bring Iran back to the negotiating table and re-enter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which collapsed after the United States withdrew from the deal in 2018.
Iran has refused to engage in direct talks with the United States, and negotiations have only become more bogged down since the election of anti-Western President Ebrahim Raisi in June.
Iran has called for all sanctions imposed under the Trump administration to be lifted. But Western officials have reported that Tehran has reneged on agreements reached in previous negotiations, Reuters reported on Thursday.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said the “trail” for diplomatic negotiations was “very short.”
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“There is not much time left,” he told reporters on Thursday. The US addition will stop seeking a path to mutual compliance with the JCPOA if Iran does not take the negotiations seriously “in the very near future.”
“If the Iranian regime suspects the United States of weakness, they will be very surprised,” Price warned.