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Iran nuclear deal

US says Iran threatening fate of JCPOA talks, could become further isolated

“Iran must cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency and provide technically credible information in response to the IAEA’s questions, which is the only way to remove these safeguards issues from the Board’s agenda,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday warned Iran that it could become further isolated politically and economically if it did not cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog agency.

“Iran must cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency and provide technically credible information in response to the IAEA’s questions, which is the only way to remove these safeguards issues from the Board’s agenda,” Blinken said in a statement.

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On Wednesday, the IAEA approved a resolution put forth by the US and European allies calling on Iran to take action on an “urgent basis” to fulfill its legal obligations toward the agency. The resolution to censure Iran was approved overwhelmingly. China and Russia were the only countries to vote against the move, which calls for Tehran to answer questions about traces of nuclear material found at three different sites across the country.

But Blinken said the IAEA issue was separate from Washington’s efforts to revive the now-defunct 2015 nuclear deal, which the US withdrew from under former President Donald Trump.

Blinken said the US remained committed to a mutual return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). “Such a deal has been available since March, but we can only conclude negotiations and implement it if Iran drops its additional demands that are extraneous to the JCPOA,” he said.

Tehran demanded that the US remove the IRGC from its terror blacklist if it wanted to re-enter the 2015 deal. Despite reported openness to this proposal from the US special envoy for Iran, Rob Malley, President Joe Biden struck down these efforts.

Following Wednesday’s decision at the IAEA, Iran said it would disconnect over 20 surveillance cameras inside the country. Blinken said this signaled a threat to further nuclear provocations from Iran and would complicate efforts to return to the JCPOA.

“The only outcome of such a path will be a deepening nuclear crisis and further economic and political isolation for Iran,” he said. “We continue to press Iran to choose diplomacy and de-escalation instead.”

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