Despite US practice and for the second time in less than a month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said this Sunday that the Biden administration is not interested in a nuclear agreement with Iran.
This Sunday morning, and during an interview with the CNN, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the Biden administration is not currently doing anything to revive the nuclear deal with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA.
“So, we made a very good faith effort to get back into compliance with them. They couldn’t or wouldn’t do it. We’re now in a place where we’re not talking about a nuclear agreement. Maybe we’ll have an environment where we can get back into a conversation about their nuclear program. Right now, we’re not in it,” Blinken said.
Admitting that pulling out the US out of the JCPOA by the Trump administration was a terrible mistake, Blinken also noted that “there have been some developments and some changes since the time we got out of the deal and the time we were trying to get back in it. But fundamentally what we tried to do was to get back into the existing agreement with some modest modifications. An agreement was on the table. Iran either couldn’t or wouldn’t say yes. We’re not about to take any deal. Of course, it has to meet our security objectives. It has to meet our interests.”
Same rhetoric as before!
Blinken’s remarks on this Sunday that Washington is not currently interested in making a deal with Iran is not a new story. Less than a month before in late June, he said that no new nuclear agreement was on the table with Iran.
Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on June 28, Blinken said “there is no agreement in the offing, even as we continue to be willing to explore diplomatic paths,” threatening Iran that it “should choose to “not take actions that further escalate the tensions” with the United States and in the Middle East.
Blinken’s speeches seem to be the result of both a lack of clear strategy on Iran in Washington, and a strong opposition to making any deal with Iran from the US Congress. It was last week that Republican lawmakers warned in a letter to the White House that the Biden administration should be very cautious about pursuing an agreement with Iran that would provide sanctions relief without approval from both Houses.
Does Iran need to make a deal with Washington at all?!
Although Blinken is constantly and categorically denying any efforts by Washington to make a nuclear agreement with Iran, diplomats and many sources inside and outside the US say indirect talks have quietly resumed in recent months with Oman as an intermediary. But even if what Blinken says is the formal and real status of the Biden administration towards dealing with Iran, it seems the Islamic Republic has successfully been able to reduce the effects of US sanctions.
Just to give an example, state media from Tehran reported last week that Iran’s oil revenue in 2022 hit 42.6 billion, exceeding the country’s oil revenue in the first year of implementation of the JCPOA.
Taking the statistics from a report by the statistical bulletin of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 2023, Iranian media also noted that the rise in Iran’s oil exports to 1.4 million barrels of oil per day (bpd) at the end of 2022 is clear evidence of the ineffectiveness of US sanctions aimed at minimizing Iran’s oil sales. Iran’s oil revenue in the first year of implementation of JCPOA stood at $41.1 billion.