by TYLER DURDEN
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned Iran that Washington is getting ‘closer’ to giving up on hopes of returning to the restoration of the JCPOA nuclear deal.
This after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued two confidential reports Tuesday which charged Iranian officials with blocking access to sites, all the while allegedly expanding its nuclear activity. The IAEA said its inspection efforts are being “seriously undermined”.
The Vienna talks have been on hold since June 20th, after they had been temporarily suspended reportedly by the Iranian side pending the entry into office of the newly elected president, Ebrahim Raisi.
Blinken spoke to reporters while in Germany meeting with his German counterpart Heiko Mass: “I’m not going to put a date on it but we are getting closer to the point at which a strict return to compliance with the JCPOA does not reproduce the benefits that that agreement achieved,” after he was specifically asked about stalled negotiations and the point of no return.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas condemned Iran’s delay as “far too long” and said he had urged Iran’s foreign ministry to demand that Iran “return more swiftly to the negotiating table,” according to AFP.
Sensing the frustration of the West, on Monday Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh attempted to lay all doubts to rest: “We will definitely continue the negotiations,” Khatibzadeh said according to state media.
However, the Iranians have so far refused to set a date for the resumption of the next round of talks in Vienna. This is leading to suspicions that the new administration in Tehran is intentionally stalling as long as possible while covertly expanding its nuclear capabilities, as The Wall Street Journal explains:
European and U.S. officials have said the period for reviving the nuclear deal isn’t open-ended. They are concerned that with Iran expanding its nuclear activities and knowledge, it may soon be impossible to recreate a centerpiece of the 2015 deal, keeping Iran at least one year from being able to accumulate enough weapons-grade enriched uranium for one weapon.
Meanwhile the IAEA is still accusing the Islamic Republic of “stonewalling”
— Reuters (@Reuters) September 8, 2021
Tehran has consistently blamed the US for refusing to immediately provide sanctions relief, which the Iranians say is the reason for the collapse of the deal – after Trump initially took the US out of the deal in May 2018.