The White House said Thursday that President Biden wants to have “other available options” against Iran if talks to revive the nuclear deal fail.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that Biden “has conveyed to the rest of the administration that he wants to make sure that we have other available options to us to potentially achieve that solid outcome of the no nuclear weapons capability for Iran.”
The comments come as Israel has been pushing the US to establish a credible military threat against Iran to force Tehran to make concessions. Back in July, Biden said he was willing to use force as a “last resort” against Iran to prevent them from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
While the US and Israel hype up the idea that Iran seeks a nuclear bomb, there’s no indication Tehran has made that decision or will in the near future. Iran is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and Iranian officials recently said that the religious edict, known as a fatwa, against developing weapons of mass destruction is still the government’s policy.
Kirby insisted that Biden was still committed to pursuing diplomacy with Iran but said his patience was “not eternal.” But the Biden administration has signaled that the negotiations with Iran to restore the JCPOA will likely not achieve success as US officials have slammed Tehran’s latest response in the EU-mediated talks.
Israeli media reported this week that the US conveyed to Israel that an agreement with Iran won’t be signed in the “foreseeable future.” In another sign that the JCPOA is doomed, the US Treasury Department announced more sanctions on Iranian companies.
In general, Biden has taken a hardline approach in negotiations with Iran by refusing to lift all Trump-era sanctions and implementing more since he came into office. This forced the two sides to negotiate how many sanctions the US was willing to lift and what level of sanctions relief was sufficient enough for Tehran to sign a deal with Washington.
During negotiations last year, the two sides were close to the agreement, but the talks ultimately failed because Biden refused to guarantee that he would stay in the deal during his term in office.
Last month, as the US and Iran appeared close to a deal, President Biden launched a series of airstrikes in Syria against what the US called “Iran-backed” fighters. Iran denied having ties to the groups the US targeted, but the strikes did their part to escalate tensions in the region.