President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to be the top US diplomat for his incoming administration said Tuesday that the US had an “urgent” responsibility to ensure that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon and that Washington’s Gulf allies would be included in talks on any future deal.
“An Iran with a nuclear weapon ... would be an Iran that will be even more dangerous than it already is,” Anthony Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “We have an urgent responsibility to do what we can,” he said, adding that there was a need to include regional allies in any future nuclear talks.
Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat like Blinken, warned that Iran was at the top of the list of worries, followed by China, Russia and North Korea.
“Returning to the JCPOA without concrete” efforts to address Iran’s ballistic missiles and malign regional activity would be a mistake, Menendez said.
"President-elect Biden is committed to the proposition that #Iran will not acquire a nuclear weapon," says Antony Blinken, President-elect Joe Biden's incoming secretary of state.https://t.co/zce5mMNhPS pic.twitter.com/obrMS1bfJT— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) January 19, 2021
Blinken said Iran's malign activity and missile programs would need to be addressed. But if a new round of negotiations were started to reach a new Iran deal, the US would include its Gulf allies and Israel in the talks, he suggested.
The Biden nominee said he would seek to “revitalize” American diplomacy and “show up again.” He said he would “reinvigorate” the diplomacy of the US and work closely with governments and partners around the world.
China, Russia and Turkey
Asked about Turkey and the need to increase US pressure and impose more sanctions on Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government, Blinken blasted Turkey. “Turkey is not acting as an ally should. This is a very, very significant challenge for us.”
As for China and Russia, he said there was a “growing rivalry with [the two] and other authoritarian states.”
But Blinken admitted that the US had work to do “at home” to “enhance our standing abroad.”
Blinken also applauded outgoing President Donald Trump’s efforts to secure peace deals between Arab states and Israel, including the Abraham Accords, as well as his tough approach on China.