This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Washington is “absolutely in lockstep” with Britain, Germany, and France on getting Iran back into a nuclear deal, but added it was unclear if Tehran was willing to rejoin the talks in a “meaningful way.”
Blinken’s remarks in an interview with CNN on October 31 come a day after the United States, Germany, France, and Britain urged Iran to resume compliance with a 2015 nuclear deal in order to “avoid a dangerous escalation.”
The accord, under which Iran curtailed its nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of global sanctions, unraveled in 2018 after then-President Donald Trump withdrew the United States, prompting Tehran to breach limits on uranium enrichment set by the pact.
“It really depends on whether Iran is serious about doing that,” Blinken said on Iran rejoining the nuclear talks. “All of our countries, working by the way with Russia and China, believe strongly that that would be the best path forward,” he added.
Leaders of the four countries hoping to persuade Tehran to stop enriching uranium to near-weapons-grade levels, said on October 30 that they wanted a negotiated solution.
“But we do not yet know whether Iran is willing to come back to engage in a meaningful way,” Blinken said on October 31. “But if it isn’t, if it won’t, then we are looking together at all of the options necessary to deal with this problem.”
Separately, Iran’s foreign minister said on October 31 that, if the United States was serious about rejoining Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, President Joe Biden could just issue an “executive order,” the state-owned Iran newspaper reported.
“It is enough for Biden to issue an executive order tomorrow and they (U.S.) announce they are rejoining the pact from the point where his predecessor left the deal,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said. “If there is a serious will in Washington to return to the deal, there is no need for all these negotiations at all.”
Talks between Iran and world powers aimed at salvaging the deal, which started in April, are slated to resume at the end of November, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator said on October 27.