The top US diplomat continues to believe that reaching a nuclear deal with Iran is in the best interest of Washington, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told lawmakers on Tuesday.
Speaking to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Blinken was pressed on the Biden administration’s adamance on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.
“We continue to believe that getting back into compliance with the agreement would be the best way to address the nuclear challenge imposed by Iran,” he said.
Blinken vowed to hold an open Iran hearing before Memorial Day, which falls at the end of May. “We will make sure that we get that done,” he said.
Blinken reiterated previous comments that the Biden administration inherited a “very challenging situation,” adding that there were “ramped up” Iranian escalations.
The secretary also claimed that Iran’s nuclear breakout time went from a year “to a matter of weeks” due to the US withdrawal from the deal. “Iran is acting with more destabilizing effect throughout the region,” he said.
However, Blinken admitted that the deal would “do nothing” to address Iran’s ballistic missile program or its support for destabilizing countries in the region.
The top US diplomat also admitted that there was an ongoing Iranian threat against the lives of American officials, “both present and past.”
Blinken also hit back at criticism of the deal, saying that if an agreement was reached, it would not take away from Washington’s ability to go after Iran using sanctions, interdictions, and stopping the money flow Tehran could use for weapons.
“When it comes to these activities, it would be worse if they had a nuclear weapon,” Blinken suggested.
The chairman of the Senate committee, Senator Bob Menendez, said the deal would not be in the best interest of the US.
“2022 is not 2014 or 2015,” Menendez told Blinken, referring to years when the deal was negotiated under the Obama administration.
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