The top US diplomat Tuesday extended an olive branch to Tehran on Tuesday, telling Iran that “the path to diplomacy is open right now.”
“The path to diplomacy is open right now. Iran is still a ways away from being in compliance. So we’ll have to see what it does,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during an interview with National Public Radio (NPR).
Blinken said the US policy was still that Iran must not be allowed to get a nuclear weapon.
When asked how the US could stop Iran from getting such a weapon, Blinken brought up the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and said that it was “very effective” in preventing Iran from producing the materials needed.
Although Blinken said it was “very unfortunate” that former President Donald Trump’s administration pulled out of the 2015 deal brokered by Barack Obama, the secretary of state admitted other issues needed to be included in a new deal.
Asked why Iran should trust America’s word and sign another deal with Washington, Blinken said Iran needed to return to compliance with the JCPOA first. “We need to work on an agreement that’s longer and stronger than the original one. And we also need to engage other issues that were not part of the original negotiation that are deeply problematic for us and for other countries around the world: Iran’s ballistic missile program, its destabilizing actions in country after country,” he said.
Blinken was asked if there were any moves underway to reopen direct diplomacy with Iran, to which he issued an ambiguous response: “At present, the president’s been very clear publicly, repeatedly, about where we stand. And we’ll see what, if any, reaction Iran has to that.”
He did not rule out direct diplomacy with Iran in the future.
“Well, at some point, presumably, if there’s going to be any engagement on this, that would have to require diplomacy. That’s what we’re in the business of.”