Iran nuclear deal

Iran can make a nuclear bomb within ‘matter of weeks,’ US envoy Malley warns

“They’re going to have to decide sooner or later because, at some point, the [nuclear] deal will be a thing of the past,” the US diplomat said.

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Iran has enough uranium to make a nuclear bomb within “a matter of weeks,” US Special Envoy for Iran Rob Malley said Tuesday.

“It would be something we would know, we would see, and to which we would react quite forcefully as you could imagine,” Malley said during an interview with National Public Radio (NPR).

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Although he claimed that Tehran had not yet resumed its “weaponization program,” which is needed to develop a bomb, Malley voiced concerns over the country’s alarming progress in its uranium enrichment program.

The US and Iran held another round of indirect talks last week after negotiations were stalled for months due to Iranian demands that the US remove the IRGC from its terror blacklist.

But last week’s talks, held in Doha for the first time, were “more than a little bit of a wasted occasion,” according to Malley.

The US diplomat accused Iran of adding demands that had “nothing to do with the nuclear deal, things that they’ve wanted in the past.”

Iran had demanded guarantees that any future US administration would not pull out of the deal, as was the case when former US President Donald Trump took office. This is impossible for any US administration or official to do.

While Malley - as has been customary for Biden administration officials - blamed the current situation on the Trump administration, he warned Iran that it would need to decide whether it wanted to reach a deal or not. “They’re going to have to decide sooner or later because, at some point, the deal will be a thing of the past.”

He added that Washington’s assessment was still that a deal would serve US national security interests and that Iran had not yet decided whether it was interested in a deal or not.

There has been increasing bipartisan opposition in the US to reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, which the Obama administration brokered.

In a sign of this, multiple diplomats on Malley’s negotiating team have stepped down. Sources familiar with the talks have told Al Arabiya English that US President Joe Biden has decided that there will be no nuclear deal with Iran. The State Department still hopes it can reverse course.

Read more: US Navy to reward tips on illicit weapons or narcotics cargos in Middle East waters

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