US threatens Iran with ‘other options’ if Vienna talks fail
The United States has once again threatened Iran with considering “other options” if negotiations in the Austrian capital fail to restore the 2015 agreement, three years after the US itself pulled out of the deal and imposed draconian sanctions on Iran.
Speaking with CNN on Tuesday, US special envoy for Iran Robert Malley warned of a “period of escalating crisis” if diplomacy failed to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The remarks came days after negotiators from Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA concluded the seventh round of talks in Vienna, aimed at bringing the US back into compliance with the agreement by removing its sanctions against Iran.
Provided that the US fully honors its obligations under the accord, Iran is also expected to reverse the steps it took in the aftermath of Washington’s illegal 2018 withdrawal and subsequent sanctions.
Referring to Iran’s retaliatory measures, Malley said, “If they continue at their current pace, we have some weeks left [to restore the deal] but not much more than that, at which point the conclusion will be there’s no deal to be revived.”
“At some point in a not-so-distant future, we will have to conclude the JCPOA is no more and we would have to negotiate a wholly different deal and we would go through a period of escalating crisis,” he added.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday that the parties to the Vienna talks reached two agreed-upon texts in the seventh round of talks.
Speaking at a weekly press conference, Saeed Khatibzadeh lamented that if the other parties had begun the seventh round of talks with the same positive attitude that they concluded the round, “we could have reached these texts sooner.”
In early 2021, Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA began to hold talks in the Austrian capital with the aim of reviving the US-ditched agreement through the removal of Washington’s anti-Iran sanctions.
The JCPOA was inked by Iran and six world powers in 2015. Under the deal, Tehran agreed to put limits on certain aspects of its nuclear activities in exchange for the removal of international sanctions imposed against the country.
In 2018, however, the US exited the pact and began to unilaterally implement what it called the maximum pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic, effectively depriving Iran of the deal’s benefits by forcing third parties to stop doing business with Iran.