Friday, February 3, 2023

US says decision to withdraw from Iran nuclear deal “great strategic blunder”

An American official says a decision by the former US president Donald Trump to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has been one of the greatest strategic blunders in US foreign policy in recent years.

“This (Joe Biden) administration considers the decision on the part of the last administration to withdraw from the JCPOA, one of the greatest strategic blunders of American foreign policy in recent years,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at his daily news conference on Monday.

The reason the United States was able to get JCPOA to arrive at a diplomatic arrangement was because it worked with allies and partners around the world to put significant economic pressure on Iran, Price stated.

“What ultimately brought Iran to the table was not a strategic change in mentality on the part of the regime. It was, I think, a realisation that they were under tremendous economic duress. And rather than provide them with a strategic asset, their nuclear programme at the time was a strategic liability,” he added.

Price said the goal is to ensure that Iran continues to feel pressure until and unless it changes course. Now you can do that as the United States, the last administration attempted to do that with the strategy of maximum pressure, the official noted.

“That clearly didn’t work. What history teaches us is that economic pressure is most effective when it’s brought to bear with other allies and partners,” Price continued.

“So that’s why we’ve put such a premium on working with our European allies and partners, particularly with the so-called E3, the French, the Brits, and the Germans in this case, but also bringing along other EU allies and partners, countries around the world to see to it that until and unless the Iranian regime changes its approach, it is going to feel the condemnation, but even more importantly the economic and diplomatic pressure of the rest of the world,” the diplomat stated.

The remarks came as Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian urged the parties involved in the talks to revive the 2015 deal and end anti-Iran sanctions to be realistic, stressing that the window to reach an agreement will not remain open forever.

“The window to reach an agreement on the part of the Islamic Republic of Iran will not be open always,” the top Iranian diplomat asserted, adding that the window will be shut if the opposite parties, especially the Americans, continue to behave hypocritically and unrealistically.

“We haven’t closed (the window), but if the Westerners want to continue their hypocritical and interventionist behavior, we will move in another direction (plan),” he continued.

The marathon talks in Vienna, underway since April last year, have remained stalled since August over foot-dragging by the United States and refusal to provide necessary guarantees to Iran.

The “politically manipulated” actions of the UN nuclear agency and the probe into so-called “uranium traces” found at “three undeclared sites” have also emerged as a key obstacle.

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