Senior US official admits Iran nuclear deal ‘highly unlikely’: Report
National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby told reporters that the negotiations were “pretty well complete… and it’s on the table and the onus is now on Iran.”
A senior Biden administration official has said that the US does not believe the nuclear deal with Iran will be revived, according to an article published on Wednesday.
Brett McGurk, the White House coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, said that reaching a deal with Tehran was now “highly unlikely,” as per US sources quoted by Axios.
McGurk reportedly made his comments during a call last week with members of an unnamed think tank, blaming the lack of success in reviving the 2015 nuclear deal on Iran.
The US sources told Axios that McGurk relayed that Iran wanted to “add something to the pot” in reference to a potential deal.
Iran had previously demanded the removal of sanctions issued by the Trump administration and wanted the terror designation lifted against the IRGC. Despite US Special Envoy for Iran Rob Malley reportedly agreeing to the latter, President Joe Biden quickly shot down the idea after overwhelming bipartisan opposition among Capitol Hill lawmakers.
Malley is scheduled to provide a classified briefing to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday about where indirect talks with the Iranians stand.
As for more concessions from the US, McGurk was quoted by Axios as saying: “We are not going to do that.”
Moving forward, and if no deal is reached, the US official said sanctions and diplomatic isolation would be ramped up. According to McGurk, the use of any force would be the last resort.
National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby said the Biden administration remained committed to seeing that Iran never has nuclear weapons capabilities.
Kirby told reporters that the negotiations were “pretty well complete… and it’s on the table and the onus is now on Iran.”
He added that Biden still believed diplomacy would be the best way forward to ensuring Iran did not get a nuclear weapon.
But the US would continue to make sure it had the ability to defend itself and its allies “against the range of other Iranian threatening behavior,” Kirby said. He mentioned Iran’s “burgeoning ballistic missile capability, which continues to improve their support for terrorist groups, their threats in the maritime environment.”
The State Department and other Biden administration officials who have been proponents of outreach to Iran still believe a deal is within reach and in the best interest of the US.
Despite repeatedly saying the US would not wait for an unlimited time to reach a deal and claims that Iran was only weeks away from a nuclear bomb, for over a year now, the Biden administration has still not closed the door on talks.
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