US envoy for Iran shifts blame on Tehran for stalled JCPOA revival talks
The US special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, has acknowledged that negotiations on a revival of the 2015 Iran deal are “not even on the agenda” for now, trying to shift the blame on Tehran for the stalled diplomatic process.
Malley, in an interview with CNN on Monday, accused the Islamic Republic of not being interested in restoring the deal and claimed that the administration of US President Joe Biden believed diplomacy was the best way to prevent Iran from what he called “acquiring a nuclear weapon.”
“President Biden made it clear from the first day he came into office that one of his priorities was to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. And he believes and we continue to believe that diplomacy is the best way to achieve that goal,” Malley told CNN.
He referred to the latest remarks by the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, that he did not expect any movement anytime soon in efforts to revitalize the Iran deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), accusing Tehran of raising issues that were “inconsistent” with a return to the deal.
Iran has demanded that the United States provide assurances that it would not leave the JCPOA again before it could reenter the agreement. Washington has refused to give a legally enforceable guarantee, leaving Iranian negotiators suspicious of the Biden administration’s seriousness in the talks.
“The reason the talks are at a standstill and at an impasse and why they’re not so far moving at all and why they’re not the focus is because Iran has taken a position in those talks for the past two months which is simply inconsistent with a return to the deal; they’re making demands that have nothing to do with the JCPOA and as long as that’s the case, the talks will be stopped,” Malley claimed.
Asked about the fate of negotiations on the JCPOA’s revival, Malley said, “It’s not even on the agenda. It’s not the focus because there’s no movement… We will see whether this is a government that is interested in reaching that deal. But at this point, the focus is on what’s happening around because the talks are stalled.”
Meanwhile, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a press briefing on Monday that the JCPOA-related talks may be fatally stalled, saying, “We don’t see a deal coming together anytime soon.”
Last week, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani reaffirmed the Islamic Republic's commitment to keeping up the talks aimed at reaching an agreement on the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s approach is to remain in the course of negotiations so as to reach a lasting and sustainable agreement that would simultaneously guarantee the fundamental interests of the government as well as those of the Iranian nation,” Kan’ani told reporters.
Kan’ani said the three EU parties to the deal – France, Britain and Germany – and the United States have linked the talks to the latest violent riots in Iran, asserting that Tehran will not allow other states to interfere in its domestic affairs.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman also made clear that Tehran is ready for bilateral interaction with all parties so that the negotiations would come to fruition.
The current crisis over Iran’s nuclear program was created in May 2018, when former US president Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the 2015 nuclear deal and imposed tough economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic under what he called the “maximum pressure” policy.
The talks to salvage the agreement kicked off in the Austrian capital of Vienna in April last year, months after Biden succeeded Trump, with the intention of examining Washington’s seriousness in rejoining the deal and removing anti-Iran sanctions.
Despite notable progress, the US indecisiveness and procrastination have caused multiple interruptions in the marathon talks.