US stresses benefits of nuclear deal, but acknowledges deadlock with Iran
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Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland highlighted the many benefits Iran would see if it agreed to President Biden’s nuclear deal, but admitted that Iranian officials “did not choose to take this path”.
“The deal is there on the table to be taken if the Iranians want it,” Nuland said at the Aspen Security Forum.
“It would get their oil back on the market, it would relieve them of some of the sanctions that have been imposed. But, so far, they haven’t chosen to go that route.
“The Iranian people are paying the price as their prices rise and inflation rises,” Nuland added. “If (the Supreme Leader) doesn’t accept the deal, we’re going to have to increase the pressure, of course.”
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Britain’s spy chief Richard Moore said on Thursday that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known informally as the Iran nuclear deal, remains the “best means yet available” to limit Iran. , but said he was “skeptical” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei would actually agree.
“I’m not convinced we’re going to get there,” Moore said at the forum. “It might be a little academic to have this discussion because I don’t think the supreme leader of Iran wants to make a deal. So the Iranians won’t want to end the talks either. So they might continue a little.”
Moore argued that even if the deal was done, there would still be “a lot of work” to do because Iran continues to work on “destabilizing activity around our region.”
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“What they’re doing in Iraq, Syria, even Yemen sponsoring the Houthis,” Moore said. “They continue to assassinate or attempt to entrap dissidents overseas as well, so there’s a lot to do.”
Nuland did not fully admit that Iran would walk away from the deal, instead stressing that Iranian officials “have not thrown it on the table yet.”
“They didn’t leave when they could have in those many months that the deal was ready and sitting there. So, you know, let’s see what happens,” she said.
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CIA Director William Burns, speaking at the Aspen Security Forum on Wednesday, noted that under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), “from which the last administration withdrew several years ago, that outage time to produce that amount of fissile material was a little over a year.”
He said on Friday that “the same breakout time can be measured not in a year or more, but in weeks.”