The top U.S. envoy to Iran, Robert Malley warned on Monday that efforts to resume compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal were now in a 'critical phase', saying Tehran's reasons for not resuming talks were wearing thin.
Speaking to reporters in a phone briefing, Malley said while Washington was increasingly worried that Tehran would keep delaying its return to talks, it also had other tools to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and would use them if need be.
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U.S. and European envoys met last Friday to discuss efforts aimed at reviving the troubled 2015 Iran nuclear deal with France urging Iran to curb nuclear activities of "unprecedented gravity."
The IAEA is charged with monitoring the 2015 accord, which was aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear activity in exchange for the lifting of crippling sanctions.
The U.S. pulled out of the accord under Donald Trump and re-imposed sanctions.
Since then Iran has stepped up nuclear activity and is now in violation of several aspects of the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA.
Iran’s nuclear activity includes enriching uranium which Western nations fear could be used to build an atomic bomb. Tehran denies any such ambitions.
- Iran says U.S. should lift sanctions to prove it wants to renew talks
- Israel believes Iran is delaying restart of nuclear talks to stockpile uranium
- Putin draws a red line for Tehran, Bennett will try to leverage it
The U.S. and European partners are ready to return immediately to negotiations with Iran “in order to swiftly conclude an agreement on Iran’s return to its commitments and the United States’ return to the JCPOA," Legendre said.
Iran’s new hardline government led by President Ebrahim Raisi, which took power in August, has hinted it will return to the nuclear talks in Vienna but has balked at setting a date.