The United States is now preparing equally for both a scenario where there is a mutual return to compliance with Iran on a nuclear deal, as well as one in which there is not an agreement, the State Department said on Wednesday.
“We remain committed to testing the proposition as to whether we can achieve a mutual return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a briefing, referring to the Iran nuclear deal.
“Because a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA, is very much an uncertain proposition, we are now preparing equally for either scenario,” he added.
The US is also preparing for a scenario in which there is no nuclear deal with its allies and partners in the event they “have to turn to other tactics and other approaches” to ensure that Iran is never allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon, Price told reporters.
A mutual return to compliance would “significantly prolong the breakout time,” he said, which is “the time that it would take Iran to acquire the fissile material necessary for a nuclear weapon should it make the decision to weaponize.” It would also “reimpose the most stringent verification and monitoring program ever peacefully negotiated on a nuclear program that has not been subject to it for several years now.”
Price added that although they have made “significant progress” in nuclear negotiations to revive the deal in Vienna in recent months, they have not been able to close an agreement and it remains uncertain and unclear” if they will be able to.
Meanwhile, the US Senate voted 86-12 — with strong bipartisan support — for a “motion to instruct” sponsored by Republican Senator Ted Cruz seeking a report on terrorism-related sanctions on Iran and saying such sanctions are necessary to limit cooperation between China and Iran.
If it became law, the provision could complicate delicate negotiations on the international Iran nuclear deal, although western officials have largely lost hope that the pact can be resurrected, four years after former Republican President Donald Trump abandoned it in 2018.
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