US special envoy for Iran Robert Malley said this Monday that due to a number of issues, the Biden administration is for now not willing to pursue nuclear talks with Tehran.
It was on this Monday that during a press conference in Paris, US special envoy for Iran Robert Malley asserted that due to Iran’s crackdown on protesters and the sale of drones to Russia in the war with Ukraine, Washington has decided to turn its focus away from reviving a nuclear deal. This is while Iran has rejected both issues.
Malley, however, insisted that the United States would leave the door open to resume diplomacy “when and if” the time came, but for now Washington would continue a policy of sanctions and pressure.
“Our focus is not an accord that isn’t moving forward, but what is happening in Iran … this popular movement and the brutal crackdown of the regime against protesters. It’s the sale of armed drones by Iran to Russia … and the liberation of our hostages,” he said referring to three American nationals held in Iran.
Malley declined to give a timeframe on how long Washington would accept the status quo, but said if diplomacy failed the United States was ready to use other tools.
“If Iran takes the initiative to cross new thresholds in its nuclear program, then obviously the response will be different and coordinated with our European allies,” Malley said, without elaborating.
Is Washington really telling the truth?
However, and despite what Malley said Monday, officials in Iran says Tehran received new signals from the United States that the “will and goodwill” exist in Washington to reach an agreement.
In this regard, Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdullahian said in early October that such statements from Washington “have domestic use and are aimed at provoking some of their agents in Iran.”
He also noted that “not only reaching a deal is a priority for the Americans, but they are also in a rush for it.”
Talks to revive a 2015 accord between Iran and world powers have been at a stalemate since September. Western states accuse Iran of making unreasonable demands after all sides appeared to be nearing a deal. This is while Iran says that it is entitled to use nuclear energy just like every other state member to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Since former president Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, known also as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) back in 2018, Iran has continued furthering its nuclear program.
Will the new Congress change anything?
Despite expectations about the US mid-term elections, Democrats could secure a majority in the Senate. This has made some experts in Washington believe that the two countries might now try to resume the negotiation to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.
“This is exactly the moment when the regime in Iran can secure a deal with the Biden administration and get access to what we estimate is $1 trillion dollars in sanctions relief,” said Mark Dubowitz, Chief Executive at the US Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).
“It is true that the political circumstances are not ideal,” he said, “but the Biden administration desperately wants a deal and will trot out its well-worn and fundamentally flawed arguments that the JCPOA will put the nuclear program back in a box.”