Sunday, November 28

Washington expresses its readiness to jointly return to the Iranian nuclear agreement and brandishes “other tools”

Washington has expressed its readiness to jointly return to the 2015 nuclear agreement, and while Tehran, in turn, announced its readiness to reach an agreement urgently during the Vienna negotiations, which will resume next Monday, Tel Aviv said that it will not abide by any new nuclear agreement that the major powers may conclude with Iran.

On Tuesday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said that indirect negotiations with Iran cannot continue forever, stressing that compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement is in the interest of everyone, including Tehran.

Price added that Washington is not ready to take unilateral steps such as easing sanctions imposed on Iran only in order to return to the negotiating table, but is ready to jointly return to the nuclear agreement.

He added that if the Iranians showed a lack of a clear goal, Washington would resort to “other tools” that are being discussed with US partners.

The US spokesman expressed his country’s hope that officials of the new Iranian government would come to Vienna to build on the progress achieved in previous rounds, and affirmed his country’s belief that a joint return to the nuclear agreement is the best way to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

On the other hand, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said on Tuesday that his country is ready and serious to reach a good agreement urgently.

Iran and the atomic agency

Meanwhile, the Iranian Foreign Minister met Tuesday in Tehran, the Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi.

In a press conference with Grossi, Abdullahian called on the IAEA to continue its cooperation in the technical framework with Iran, and to avoid taking political positions.

For his part, Grossi said that the agency welcomes the continuation of talks with Iran with the aim of settling the remaining files as soon as possible.

The Associated Press that the Director of the Atomic Agency sought during a conversation in Tehran to enable the agency’s inspectors access to sites suspected of containing activities related to Iran’s nuclear program.

Grossi’s visit comes after the IAEA announced last Wednesday that Iran had increased its stockpile of highly enriched uranium by more than the ceiling set in the 2015 agreement.

Iran began to abandon some of its obligations stipulated in the agreement since 2019, a year after former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the agreement, and his administration re-imposed sanctions on Tehran.

Israel and Iran

For his part, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett reiterated that Israel will not abide by any nuclear agreement that major powers may conclude with Iran.

Bennett said that Israel is obligated to maintain freedom of action against Iran in any political circumstance.

He added that the Iranians surrounded Israel with missiles at a time when they were sitting safely in Tehran, considering that chasing down those he described as terrorists has become less feasible, and that it is necessary to go to those who send them directly, as he put it.

Simultaneously, Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Iran will possess a nuclear weapon within 5 years, whether or not it signs a nuclear agreement with the major powers.

The Israeli threat, according to Bennett, came despite many security contacts and meetings between US and Israeli officials, the focus of which was on Iran this year.

In late January, Israeli media revealed phone conversations between Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and his American counterpart Jake Sullivan that dealt with the Iranian file, and that was the first contact of its kind during the administration of current President Joe Biden.

The following month, Israeli officials told the Axios news website that Ben-Shabbat discussed Iran with Sullivan in two video calls.

And last March, the first virtual meeting of the so-called bilateral strategic group was held between Washington and Tel Aviv, which dealt with the Iranian file and regional security issues.

And last April, American and Israeli security delegations met in Washington, and the meeting – in addition to the nuclear file – was overshadowed by what was described as the threat posed by Iran’s supply of its allies with drones and precision-guided missiles.

Last September, The Times of Israel revealed a secret meeting between US and Israeli security officials, during which they discussed what to do if Iran did not return to the nuclear agreement, according to the site.

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