On the eve of the resumption of negotiations surrounding Iran's nuclear program, Secretary of State Antony Blinken declined to rule out a potential military option should talks falter.
"As we always say, every option is on the table," Blinken told CBS's Face the Nation when directly pressed on a potential military option, noting that the important facts are that Iran is "moving forward aggressively" with its program and the time needed to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon is getting shorter.
"The Iranians have now said that they're coming back to talks toward the end of November, we'll see if they actually do. That's going to be important," Blinken said, adding that there is "very close coordination" between the president, German Chancellor Merkel, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and France's President Emmanuel Macron. "All of us are also working with Russia and China," the Secretary of State also noted.
"We still believe diplomacy is the best path forward for putting the nuclear program back in the box it had been in under the agreement, the so-called JCPOA. We were also looking at as necessary other options if Iran is not prepared to engage quickly in good faith to pick up where we left off in June when these talks were interrupted by the change in government in Iran, and to see if we can get back to mutual compliance — both countries coming back into the agreement as quickly as possible," Blinken continued.
Iran's foreign minister said separately on Sunday 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.
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Talks between Iran and world powers aimed at salvaging the deal, which started in April, are slated to resume at the end of November, the Islamic Republic's top nuclear negotiator said on Wednesday.
Reuters contributed to this report.