US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has stated that Iran rejected the opportunity to return to a nuclear deal with the US months ago while adding that a new nuclear agreement was no longer a priority for the Biden administration.
Addressing a joint press conference in the presence of UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, Blinken stated that the US had the consent of China, Russia and other signatories of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was abandoned by former US President Donald Trump in 2018.
Iran’s hesitation regarding the JCPOA was the reason behind its failure, US Secretary Blinken claimed. “The Iranians killed the opportunity to come back to that agreement swiftly many months ago,” Blinken said, adding, “There was an opportunity on the table that they rejected, an opportunity that was approved by all who were involved.”
The US focus on Iran’s involvement in the Ukraine war
Establishing the fact that the US administration is not in pursuit of a new nuclear deal with Iran anymore, Blinken stated that Washington’s focus is laid on “what’s happening in Iran.”
The US State Secretary said that the administration is focused on Iran’s involvement in the Ukraine war in terms of “the provision of weapons to Russia to use against innocent people and the entire energy grid in Ukraine.” Notably, Russia has been utilizing Iranian drones to carry out strikes against Ukrainian infrastructure and military personnel amid the raging war.
US National Security Advisor (NSA) Jake Sullivan said on January 9 that Tehran’s supply of lethal drones to Russia for use in its special military operation in Ukraine accounted for Iran “contributing to widespread war crimes.”
Earlier, Blinken stated that, “Iran has now become Russia’s top military backer,” while urging the regime to “cease its support for Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression in Ukraine.” Furthermore, according to Blinken, Washington is focusing on other destabilizing activities led by Iran throughout the region.
Meanwhile, a reconsideration of the 2015 JCPOA, in which Tehran agreed to limit its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, “has not been on the agenda as a practical matter for many months now,” Blinken stated.