U.S. Secretary of State Blinken says Iran nuclear deal is stalled — but he won’t say it’s dead

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week refused to claim that nuclear talks with Iran are over – despite a popular uprising challenging the dictatorship and evidence that Tehran is providing Russia with nuclear weapons. ‘kamikaze’ drones to attack civilian and infrastructure targets in Ukraine.

“There’s No Moving Forward,” Blinken said in an exclusive interview this week with CBC News Network’s Political power. “The Iranians continue to try to bring irrelevant, unrelated issues into the conversation.”

“Having respect, is death forever?” Host Vassy Kapelos asked Blinken. “The regime that you would essentially legitimize the individual by negotiating with is killing the people who are opposing it. Is that a recoverable position for your government?”

Blinken said that when the sides negotiated the initial Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – the agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon – Tehran was “engaged in a series of deeply objectionable actions”. sharp.”

“Support for terrorism, destabilizing activities in the Middle East, of course its own abuse of human rights,” Blinken said.

“What we said at the time of the deal was that Iran was taking all of these actions – a nuclear Iran could be even worse because they would believe they could act. with greater sanctions when it comes to all the activities they engage in in the region and beyond that we oppose.”

Watch: Full interview with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

Exclusive: US Secretary of State on threats from Russia and Iran

“What I’m hearing – my consultations with Congress, Republicans and Democrats – is very strong support,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, expressing doubt that a Congress led by Republican control would jeopardize future US support for Ukraine.

Signed in 2015 by Iran, USA and some other countries in the world, JCPOA aims to curb Iran’s nuclear programs in exchange for sanctions.

In one of his signature foreign policy moves, President Donald Trump withdraw the US from the deal in 2018 and restore some sanctions was removed when the agreement was signed.

During the 2020 presidential campaign, Joe Biden described Trump’s foreign policy on Iran as a “dangerous failure” and vowed to rejoin the nuclear deal if Iran returned to strict compliance with the nuclear deal. terms of the agreement.

Negotiations appeared to have hit a roadblock in August when the US State Department said Iran was making “unacceptable demands.”

Time for Washington to say ‘these talks are over’: activists

Lawyer and human rights activist Kaveh Shahrooz said the current position of the Biden administration is unacceptable, given the widespread protests in Iran and the fact that Tehran is supplying arms to Russia.

“The Iranian people have made it very clear that this regime does not represent them. It does not represent their interests. And I think it is very clear to any observer that the Iranian regime is not what they are. a trusted party,” Shahrooz said. “It’s time for the Biden administration and Secretary Blinken to say these negotiations are over.”

Shahrooz said the current context calls for Iran to be “more diplomatically isolated” and that engaging in deeper talks will send a signal that the regime in Tehran is a “legitimate and trustworthy partner.” trust in the West.”

Blinken asserted this week that engaging in nuclear negotiations with Iran is not to legitimize the regime, but to prevent a bad guy from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

In this photo taken by an individual who is not part of the AP company and taken by AP outside Iran, Iranians protest the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in Tehran on October 1, 2022. (Associated Press File Photo / Middle East Image)

That argument may have convinced some people a month ago, says Shahrooz, but now “we are in a revolutionary moment.”

Instead, Shahrooz said, the Biden administration and the international community should make anyone who cooperates with Tehran pay a heavy price to “empower the Iranian revolutionaries themselves to overthrow the regime.”

A nuclear-armed Iran would be a disaster: diplomat

Retired diplomat Dennis Horak served as the head of Canada’s mission to Iran from 2009 until a few weeks before the Harper government suspended diplomatic relations in 2012. He said it was important to let the relationship go. Current political situation plays out in Iran – but ultimately, nuclear talks should continue.

“While not as perfect as the deal, it did put some controls on Iran’s nuclear program and I think it’s important that those controls be restored at some point,” Horak said. “Iran is a tough opponent in the region and a nuclear-armed Iran would be a disaster.”

But Horak warned against restarting talks as a popular uprising was still spreading across Iran.

“I think the Iranian regime might see it as an opportunity to change the channel,” Horak said. “I don’t think the West should allow itself to be used in this kind of public relations exercise.”


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