October 25, 2021

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Biden’s Iran envoy says Tehran could have unconstrained nuclear programme

The US diplomat who negotiated the 2015 agreement that limited Iran’s nuclear capability says the West should be prepared for world in which Tehran “doesn’t have constraints on its nuclear programme”.

Robert Malley, the joint comprehensive plan of action negotiator who President Joe Biden tapped to be his Special Envoy to Iran this past January, told attendees at an event hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace that the US is “prepared to remove all of the sanctions that were imposed by the Trump administration that were inconsistent with the [nuclear] deal”.

In comments first reported by the New York Post, he said such a reversal of sanctions would be an incentive for Tehran to “get back to the business that we should have been on”, but it’s unclear whether the new Iranian government will participate in talks in earnest.

“That’s where we are today, and I think that’s the choice that Iran faces,” Mr Malley said. “Are they prepared to go back to that or do they want to choose a different path?”

He added that, so far, Tehran has “refused to have direct communication with us, direct contact with us” which has meant that what negotiations have taken place so far have been conducted through intermediaries.

“It’s not a particularly constructive [format], it’s one that lends itself to delays, it’s one that lends itself to misunderstandings, and all of that has happened,” Mr Malley said, adding that even without direct talks, the US is “getting a piece of Iran’s answer” each day that Tehran refuses to engage or complains about the state of negotiations in Vienna.

“This is a team that may not, in fact, be prepared to come back into what we would consider … full mutual return to compliance,” he continued.

“And so, of course, we have to prepare for a world, which we’re doing now in consultation with our partners from the region … where Iran doesn’t have constraints on its nuclear program and we have to consider options for dealing with that”.

Original News : https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/robert-malley-iran-nuclear-programme-b1938581.html

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