US: Unclear If Iran Wants To Return To Deal, Nuke Program Is “Galloping Forward”

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In this May 18, 2021 photo, Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a joint press conference following meetings with the Icelandic Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson, at the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, Iceland. Blinken is heading to the Middle East to press the Israelis, Palestinians and regional players to build on last week’s Gaza cease-fire by laying the groundwork for a resumption in long-stalled peace talks. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)

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The United States has been holding indirect talks with Iran on returning to the 2015 nuclear deal for two months but according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, it’s not even yet clear if the Islamic Republic is interested in returning to it.

“We’ve been engaged in indirect conversations, as you know, for the last couple of months, and it remains unclear whether Iran is willing and prepared to do what it needs to do to come back into compliance,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday.

“We’re not even at the stage of returning to compliance for compliance,” Blinken said. “We don’t know if that’s actually going to happen.”

“What we do know, unfortunately, is that meanwhile, [Iran’s nuclear] program is galloping forward. It has lifted restraints imposed on it by the agreement including the amount of enriched material that it has, material that’s now, in some cases, enriched up to 20% and even a small amount to 60%. It has started to deploy some more advanced centrifuges.”

Blinken added that “the longer this goes on, the more their breakout time gets down. It’s now down – by published reports – to a few months at best. And if this continues, it will get down to a matter of weeks.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)