The Biden administration is ready to use “other tools” against Iran in the troubled nuclear negotiations

A senior U.S. State Department official said on Saturday that the Biden administration is ready to take action against Iran and at the same time hold indirect talks in Vienna on the two parties’ resumption of compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement.

“Iran is negotiating and formulating its nuclear program. We can sit at the negotiating table and use other tools to ensure that we are advancing our own goals,” the official said in a conference call with reporters on Saturday.

“I won’t pay too much attention to whether Vienna will withdraw dramatically….I don’t rule it out. But at this point, we want to negotiate with Iran. We want to see if we can reach an understanding. But This does not mean that because we are at the negotiating table, we cannot do other things at the same time.”

The comment was made after the seventh round of indirect talks between the United States and Iran ended. The European intermediary shuttled between the two teams, bringing Washington and Tehran back to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Before the US and Israeli officials met in Washington next week, the US’s hard-line assertions also emerged. According to reports, Israeli Defense Secretary Benny Gantz is expected to meet with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Anthony Brinken.

Israel opposes the resumption of the Iran nuclear agreement. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke with Brinken on the phone on Friday, calling for an “immediate cessation of negotiations.”

The United States and other meeting participants expressed disappointment with Iran’s position. Secretary of State Anthony Brinken said on Friday that “Iran does not seem to be serious about taking the necessary measures to restore compliance.”

The indirect talks between the US and Iran had stalled for close to six months amid Tehran’s transition to the administration of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, a conservative hard-liner who was elected in August and is under American sanctions for human rights.

The Biden administration has stated that its main goal is to return to the Iranian nuclear agreement, but President Biden has stated that the United States has “other options”—it is believed that in addition to economic measures, it also includes kinetic military options—if it returns The Iran nuclear agreement failed.

The senior official stated that since the sixth round of talks in June, Iranians are “preparing” to return to the negotiating table by increasing nuclear activities, angering international nuclear inspectors and making disproportionate demands.

“Being prepared means putting forward some proposals to make everything back down. Any compromises Iran made during the six rounds of talks, including all the compromises made by other countries and the United States, and then asking for more,” this The official said. “In other words, don’t make serious suggestions on how we can restore mutual compliance with JCPOA.”

The Biden administration insists that since former President Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear agreement in 2018, it has been focusing on finding joint compliance with Iran to return to the Iran nuclear agreement. Tehran violated the terms of the agreement in 2019 and opposed the sanctions imposed by the previous government of the “Maximum Pressure” movement.

Iran publicly called on the United States to lift all the estimated 1,500 sanctions imposed by Trump and to ensure that the new president cannot withdraw from the agreement.

The United States has expressed its readiness to lift sanctions that are “inconsistent” with the JCPOA provisions, and criticize Iran’s stance for not being serious, pointing out its nuclear provocations in the past few months, including the ability to enrich uranium to a level close to weapons, which is prohibited under the JCPOA provisions. These activities are carried out in the facilities of the United Nations and prevent or intimidate the nuclear inspectors of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency.

The senior official stated that Iran’s actions may be aimed at gaining bargaining chips for the Vienna talks to isolate the country from participants in the agreement, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union.

“I think we see very clearly that countries around the world are now increasingly aware that Iran’s position is inconsistent with its stated goal of returning to the JCPOA. Their accelerated nuclear program is one,” the official said.

Nonetheless, the United States is committed to keeping diplomatic channels open and making Iran responsible for serious participation in order to restore JCPOA and stop provocative actions.

“The time for JCPOA to maintain a viable agreement is inversely proportional to the speed at which Iran advances its nuclear program,” the official said. “If they choose to accelerate their nuclear program, as they have done recently, then there will be less time to restart the JCPOA.”

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