Blinken spoke to the press after a meeting with Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid and UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Washington. “We are getting close to a point at which returning to compliance with the JCPOA will not in and of itself recapture the benefits of the JCPOA and that’s because Iran has been using this time to advance its nuclear programme in a variety of ways,” said Blinken.
Blinken said, “We’re united in the proposition that Iran cannot be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon. We believe that the diplomatic path is the most effective way to ensure that that doesn’t happen.” But he said Iran has already had nine months since Biden’s election to demonstrate its commitment.“With every passing day, and Iran’s refusal to engage in good faith, the runway gets get short,” Blinken said. “We are prepared to turn to other options if Iran doesn’t change course,” he warned.
He did not elaborate but Lapid, without being contradicted, said of Blinken’s comments: “I think everybody understands — here in Israel and in the Emirates and in Tehran — what it is that we mean.” Lapid earlier said that both he and Blinken, as sons of Holocaust survivors, “know there are moments when nations must use force to protect the world from evil.” “If a terror regime is going to acquire a nuclear weapon, we must act,” Lapid said. “Israel reserves the right to act at any given moment in any way. That is not only our right; it is also our responsibility.”
Iran and the US held six rounds of indirect talks this year on returning to compliance, with a European Union mediator shuttling between the two sides in Vienna hotel rooms. Talks were last held in June before the inauguration of a new hardline Iranian government that took over from President Hassan Rouhani.
Iran denies it is seeking a nuclear weapon, which the clerical state argues is religiously forbidden. But Tehran believes it needs to defend itself in a hostile neighbourhood. Iran has said it is ready to resume talks “soon” but no date has yet been announced. Enrique Mora, the EU envoy in charge of reviving the deal, plans to visit Tehran in a new bid for progress.