The administration of US President Joe Biden said Friday that Iran is close to producing a nuclear bomb, and at the same time it made clear that it is adopting a new strategy towards Tehran that differs from the approach of former President Donald Trump.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that one of the top and early priorities of the Biden administration “is to deal with an escalating crisis with Iran, as it nears getting enough fissile material to possess a nuclear weapon.”
“From our point of view, one of the important early priorities should be dealing with what is considered an escalating nuclear crisis as Iran approaches step by step to obtaining fissile material sufficient to produce a (nuclear) weapon,” he added.
The US National Security Adviser stressed that “Iran has become closer to producing a nuclear bomb during the past four years.”
He said, “There are differences in dealing with Iran between the Biden and Trump administrations.”
For her part, White House spokeswoman Jean Saki said that the nuclear restrictions on Iran should be strengthened, and the issue of ballistic missiles and Tehran’s activities in the region should be addressed.
Coordination with allies
In response to a question about the possibility of the US President meeting his Iranian counterpart, Sacchi said, “This matter will be discussed.”
She added that “any step towards Iran and the nuclear agreement will be in coordination with our partners and allies.”
The White House made it clear that President Biden considers that if Iran complies with the nuclear agreement, this “will constitute an opportunity that can be built upon.”
In the same context, Washington confirmed Friday the designation of the head of the International Crisis Group, Robert Malley, as a “special envoy to Iran.”
Mali is one of the architects of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and a childhood friend of the current US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
On Friday, a US State Department official announced that Mali “adds to this position his previous successes in negotiations over restrictions on the Iranian nuclear program,” stressing that “the foreign minister has confidence that he, along with his team, will be able to reach this result again.”
Do not negotiate
On the Iranian side, Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif said that the nuclear agreement was signed by his country and the “5 + 1” group, and ratified by the United Nations, and that no file could be added to the agreement that was not included in it.
In a press conference Friday with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu in Istanbul, Zarif added that Washington is the one who withdrew from the agreement and violated it, and it is the one that it must return to first, as he put it.
On Friday, the office manager of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the negotiation file on the nuclear deal has been closed, stressing that his country’s position is clear and will not change, and that there is no difference in Tehran between former US President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden.
The spokesman indicated that Iran has not left the nuclear agreement to return to it, and will implement all its obligations if it is confirmed that Washington and Europe implement their commitments.