Blinken says time running out to revive Iran nuclear deal

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has once again warned time was running out to restore the Iran nuclear deal. Tehran has stressed it’s ready to restart talks to save the landmark agreement, but not under Washington pressure.

Blinken in a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday discussed the progress made on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and noted that there was not much time left before a return to the original agreement becomes pointless.

“Yes, we [Blinken and Lavrov] focused on the JCPOA,” Blinken stated during a press briefing at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development conference in Paris.

“Given what Iran is doing with its nuclear program […], we are getting closer and closer to a point where simply returning to compliance with the JCPOA won’t recapture the benefits of the agreement,” he added.

Blinken reiterated that both Russia and the US are interested in seeing a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA.

Earlier in the day, following a meeting with the Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Lavrov noted that Tehran is ready to resume negotiations on the JCPOA in Vienna as soon as possible.

In 2015, Iran signed the nuclear deal with the P5+1 group, which includes the United States, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany and the European Union. It required Tehran to scale back its nuclear program and severely reduce its uranium reserves in exchange for sanctions relief, including the lifting of an arms embargo five years after the deal was inked.

In September, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh stated the 4+1 group of countries that remain party to the JCPOA will resume nuclear negotiations in Austrian capital Vienna within the next few weeks.

During the last official meeting with the president and the cabinet members of the twelfth government in late July, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has said that one key lesson for future administrations to learn from the experience gained during the tenure of Hassan Rouhani is that there is no benefit in putting one’s trust in the west.

“The others should use your experience,” Ayatollah Khamenei told the meeting, adding, “There is a specific experience… that I have noted to you and the people many times before, and let me repeat the same thing here, which is [the need for] a lack of trust in the west.”

“This is an experience that the posterity should use. As it became manifest during the tenure of this administration, nothing can be gained from putting one’s trust in the west,” the leader stated.

The leader added that domestic programs should in no way be tied to western states under any circumstances due to the proven failure of such an approach.

“Wherever you tied your work to the west, you failed, and wherever you rose and moved forward without trusting the west, you succeeded,” he said in an address to members of the outgoing administration.

“Wherever you tied issues to an agreement or talks with the west, America and the like, you failed to move forward,” he said, adding, “Because they don’t help. They are the enemies, of course.”

“The Americans say [in words] and promise that ‘we will remove the sanctions’ but they have failed to do so,” stressed the leader, denouncing the US attempts to add new terms to the agreement to push Iran to begin talks on other issues.

By adding such a clause, according to the leader, the Americans are seeking to gain an excuse for further meddlesome acts regarding the JCPOA, Iran’s missile program and regional issues.

“And if Iran refuses to talk about [those issues], they would say ‘you have violated the JCPOA and therefore there won’t be an agreement anymore,’” he stated.

Ayatollah Khamenei drew attention to the fact that the US has refused to provide Iran with a guarantee that it will not violate its commitments again.

He noted that Washington will not shy away from violating its contractual commitments in the same manner it did in 2018, a move that was “completely costless” for them.

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