Senior US official says nuclear talks with Tehran have all but failed, Axios reports
White House Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk says the chances of reviving the 2015 nuclear pact with Iran are “highly unlikely,” according to a recent report, after months of stop-start negotiations and a war of words between Tehran and Washington.
A top adviser to President Joe Biden, McGurk expressed major doubts about a return to the deal during recent remarks to experts at the think tank, Axios reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed sources. He blamed Iran for the standoff, saying he wants the United States “add something to the jar” and change the terms of the agreement, but did not specify what that might entail.
However, McGurk insisted “we’re not going to do that” stating that Washington would not accept Tehran’s proposal and is prepared to use sanctions and “diplomatic isolation” against the country in the meantime.
The adviser suggested that Iran seek to modify the details of the agreement – officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – in order to convince skeptics in the government who have urged any return to the agreement.
Since former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the pact in 2018, Tehran has also gradually backed away from its own commitments, insisting that Washington must stick to the original terms of the agreement and lift a series of sanctions imposed on its economy. Iran has continued to increase its uranium enrichment beyond the limits set by the JCPOA and recently said it would build a new nuclear research reactor near the city of Isfahan.
While Biden has repeatedly said he would like to revive the deal, months of negotiations have yet to show tangible results, with Washington and Tehran pointing fingers at each other as to who is to blame for the lack of progress.
Although Iran has long maintained its nuclear program for peaceful purposes, the recent surge in its nuclear activities has raised concerns among some Westerners.
In mid-July, a senior adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed the country had the technical capability to produce a nuclear bomb but had not yet made the political decision to do so. Khamenei, however, has previously said that all weapons of mass destruction are prohibited by Islam – even issuing a religious edict against such weapons in 2003 – a position reiterated repeatedly by Tehran over the years, including just at the beginning of this month.
Iran nuclear talks end without progress
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