On Monday, President Biden’s special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, said the US isn’t going to “waste its time” on talks with Tehran to revive the nuclear deal and would use a military option as a “last resort” against Iran.
Negotiations between the US and Iran on the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, have been stalled since early September. The Biden administration hasn’t officially said it’s done with the talks, but Malley’s comments are the surest sign that diplomacy between Washington and Tehran is dead.
Malley echoed other administration officials and said that the JCPOA is “not our focus right now” and that the US is going to focus on other issues, including supporting protesters inside Iran.
“It is not on our agenda. We are not going to focus on something which is inert when other things are happening… and we are not going to waste our time on it… if Iran has taken the position it has taken,” Malley said at a Carnegie Endowment event, according to Axios.
There’s no sign that Iran is working to develop a nuclear weapon, but Malley still threatened the US would use military action as a “last resort” to prevent Tehran from doing so. “We will use other tools, and in last resort, a military option if necessary, to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” he said.
The US has accused Iran of making “extraneous demands” during the JCPOA negotiations. But the Biden administration had taken a hardline approach in the talks by refusing to lift all Trump-era sanctions. The stance forced Iran to negotiate what sanctions would be lifted in exchange for it bringing its nuclear program back into the strict limits set by the JCPOA.