US envoy Calls Nuclear Deal Effort with Iran ‘Critical Phase’

Efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal are at a “critical phase” and Tehran’s reasons for avoiding the talks are increasingly unconvincing, a US official said Monday.

According to him, efforts to improve diplomatic relations between the United States (US) and Iran will continue even if the agreement cannot be revived.

US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley told reporters Washington was increasingly concerned that Tehran would continue to delay the return of the talks. But Washington has other means to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and will use them if necessary.

“We are at a critical phase of trying to see if we can revive the JCPOA,” Malley said, referring to the deal officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

“We have been at a standstill for months, and the official reasons given by Iran as to why we are in such a state are very difficult to accept.”

While saying that the window for the United States and Iran to resume compliance with the agreement would eventually close, Malley said the United States was still willing to engage in diplomatic relations with Iran even while considering other options to prevent Tehran from building a nuclear bomb.

He also hinted at the economic gains that might flow from Iran’s return to the accord, which calls for Tehran to take steps to curb its nuclear program in return for easing economic sanctions imposed by the US, European Union and United Nations. [lt/pp]

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