US inching ‘closer’ to closing door on return to Iran nuclear deal: Blinken

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Washington is inching “closer” toward giving up on resuming the Iran nuclear deal, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday.

Blinken’s remarks came while he was in Germany to discuss the abrupt decision by the US to completely withdrew from Afghanistan and allowed the Taliban to completely take over the country within days.

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Asked about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that former President Barack Obama joined and Donald Trump later withdrew from, Blinken said: “I’m not going to put a date on it, but we are getting closer to the point at which a strict return to compliance with the JCPOA does not reproduce the benefits that that agreement achieved because as time goes on and as Iran continues to make advances in its nuclear program... there is a point at which it would be very difficult to regain all of the benefits of the JCPOA.”

“We’re not at that point yet, but it’s getting closer. And that’s why we’ve been very clear that the ability to rejoin the JCPOA... is not indefinite,” the top US diplomat said.

US President Joe Biden has made it a priority to rejoin the deal, but Tehran has been stalling talks while increasing its enrichment of materials needed for a nuclear bomb.

On Tuesday, Biden’s top envoy for the Iran nuclear talks, Robert Malley, left Washington for Russia and France. The State Department said his trip would be “for consultations with our Russian and European partners on Iran’s nuclear program and the need to quickly reach and implement an understanding on a mutual return” to the JCPOA.

Read more: Biden could strike a deal with Iran, but US law poses obstacles at home

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