Politics

US, Israel prepare for ‘Plan B’ if Iran refuses nuclear deal

Blinken discussed a 'plan B' solution with Israeli counterpart to deter Iran's nuclear program. Source: Ron Przysucha (via. Flickr).

By George Gourlay | Contributor

Antony Blinken and Yair Lapid, foreign secretaries of the US and Israel, gave a joint press conference to state that “time is running out” on Iran’s re-entry into the 2015 nuclear deal. 

The Biden administration is considering alternative options to deal with Iran’s nuclear programme after the country has refused to indicate whether it intends to re-join the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, originally proposed in 2015. 

The original deal, which enforced nuclear non-proliferation between Iran, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and the EU, was jeopardised by the withdrawal of the United States under President Trump in 2017. Trump expressed a need for a more comprehensive deal to replace the JCPOA, however his administration failed to introduce an alternative by the end of his presidency. 

Since then, the deal has deteriorated, with Iran refusing to abide by its original principles as a result of sanctions placed on them by the Trump administration. 

Under new leadership by President Ebrahim Raisi, Iranian officials have expressed an interest in only renegotiating with the European co-signers of the deal, leaving the US and their closest Middle Eastern ally, Israel, to consider alternative ways to exert their interests on Iran’s nuclear programme.  

In a press conference alongside his Israeli counterpart, Blinken made the case that the US’s position of diplomacy may be abandoned if the stalemate continues, stating: “…it takes two to engage in diplomacy, and we have not seen from Iran a willingness to do that at this point.” 

Yair Lapid of Israel elaborated on Blinken’s statement by delivering an ultimatum: “If a terror regime is going to acquire a nuclear weapon, we must act.” 

The immediate threat Iran’s nuclear arsenal poses has been assessed by US officials who believe the country to have built up a stockpile of highly enriched uranium at 60%. Suspicions have also been raised over Iran’s restriction of UN inspections.

The EU is keen to get Iran back to the negotiating table as its chief negotiator, Enrique Mora, expressed an urgency to bring back talks on a visit to Iran. China, one of the Security Council members attached to the original deal, has also reiterated its support for the revival of negotiations.

Iran’s newly appointed Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, has confirmed that talks with the UN Security Council Members (Britain, China, France and Russia) alongside Germany will resume within the coming weeks. 

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