US Envoy for Iran warned that Iran’s enrichment has reached alarming levels, adding that talks in Qatar failed because Tehran added new demands.
US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley spoke of the latest developments regarding nuclear talks with Tehran this Tuesday. In an interview with the National Public Radio, Malley said that during the last rounds of talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran added new demands and that’s why talks failed to produce any result.
“They have, including in Doha, added demands that I think anyone looking at this would be viewed as having nothing to do with the nuclear deal, things that they’ve wanted in the past,” he said.
Malley also expressed grave concerns about Iran’s uranium enrichment and noted that the enrichment level is alarming; “Now, Tehran is much closer to having enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb… We are of course alarmed, as are our partners, about the progress they’ve made in the enrichment field,” Malley said.
Before the new negotiations took place in Doha for two days, the US and Iran had engaged for more than a year in indirect talks in Vienna to revive the JCPOA. But negotiations stalled back in March with no hope in sight about reaching a common ground.
The main reason for the failure of over a year of negotiations before March was reportedly Iran’s demand from the US to remove the name of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the US Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list.
Was Doha really a failure?
During last week’s negotiations between Tehran and Washington to revive the JCPOA in Doha, Qatar, the two sides communicated indirectly through European Union envoy Enrique Mora. But unlike the US which says the talks were unsuccessful with no progress, Iran believes it was a positive step forward.
“Our assessment of the recent talks in Doha is positive,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said last week on Wednesday, adding also that “we are serious about reaching a good, strong and lasting agreement, and if the US is realistic, an agreement can be reached.”
Under Iran’s nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Tehran agreed to limit its uranium enrichment program in exchange for sanctions relief mostly by Washington.
The United States and some European countries believe that Iran should not have an enrichment program because it could be a potential pathway for this country to build nuclear weapons. Under the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, however, all the members of the treaty, including Iran, should have every right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Besides, Iranian officials have said many times that Iran has never sought and is never seeking any military use of nuclear energy.
During his campaigns, US President Joe Biden promised that he would revive the nuclear deal with Iran, from which Donald Trump had pulled the US back in 2018. But more than a year after his presence in the White House, Biden has not made any serious move to do so.
Very well aware of Biden’s indecisiveness about rejoining the deal and under pressure due to economic sanctions, Iran began developing its nuclear program again.
It is now enriching uranium up to 60 percent which is still far from a weapons-grade enrichment level but prone to it. In this regard, Malley said Tuesday that “Iran has enough highly enriched uranium on hand to make a bomb and could do so in a matter of weeks.”