Secretary of State Antony Blinken told NPR Thursday that there are only a “few weeks” left to revive the Iran nuclear deal and warned the US would explore “other options” if the talks that are ongoing in Vienna fail.
“We’re very, very short on time. The runway is very short,” Blinken said. He claimed Iran is getting close to being able to produce “enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon,” although there is no evidence Iran is seeking a nuclear bomb, something CIA Director William Burns admitted last month.
Blinken said a revival of the JCPOA is the “best result for America’s security” but warned the US is coordinating with allies on “other options” if the talks fail. “We are looking at other steps, other options, again, closely coordinated with concerned countries,” he said.
Back in November, Blinken wouldn’t rule out possible military action as an “option” if the JCPOA talks fail. The US has also been coordinating very closely with Israel, and Israeli officials are pushing the US to abandon the negotiations and ramp up the pressure on Iran through tighter sanctions and a potential attack.
US officials are expecting a decision on the JCPOA to be made in the coming weeks. Leading up to that decision, the Biden administration is focused on blaming the Trump administration for the current situation. “One of the worst decisions made in recent American foreign policy was to walk away from that agreement,” Blinken told NPR.
While President Trump shares plenty of blame, President Biden has had a year to restore the JCPOA. All it would have taken is for Biden to lift sanctions and give some guarantees that he wouldn’t withdraw from the deal. Instead, Iran remains under crippling sanctions, and the so-called “maximum pressure” campaign continues.