On Wednesday, the State Department said that reviving the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, is “not our focus now,” as negotiations with Tehran have been stalled since the beginning of September.
State Department spokesman Ned Price blamed the Iranians for the impasse, but the Biden administration has been increasing sanctions on Iran, signaling that they’re not serious about restoring the JCPOA.
“A deal certainly does not appear imminent … Nothing we’ve heard in recent weeks suggests they have changed their position,” Price said.
Price said that Washington’s main “focus” right now concerning Iran is the protests that have been going on inside the country that was sparked by the death of a Kurdish-Iranian woman in police custody. The US has issued sanctions on Iran over Tehran’s response to the demonstrations and has expressed support for the protesters.
The US had adjusted some sanctions to give Iranian protesters more internet access, and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said he was “activating” Starlink satellite internet inside Iran. But to access the internet using Starlink, a user would need a terminal, and it’s not clear at this point if the US has made any effort to smuggle them inside the country.
In an interview earlier this month, CIA Director William Burns was asked if the US government would help get terminals inside Iran. “Well, the US government has made very clear our support for the free flow of information and freedom of the internet, so without going into any details, I think the United States is very committed to that,” he said.
When asked if the US was getting involved in the protests, Burns said, “All I can say is we are going to continue to be strongly supportive as a government in the free flow of information.”