Washington: US, Israeli and EU officials took a tough line towards Iran yesterday, with US officials saying they would consider all options if Tehran failed to revive the 2015 nuclear deal and Israel saying it reserved the right to act.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has so far refused to resume indirect talks with the US in Vienna on both sides returning to compliance with the deal, under which Iran curbed its nuclear programme in return for economic sanctions relief.
“We will look at every option to deal with the challenge posed by Iran,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a joint news conference with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Emirati Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed.
“If the Iranians don’t believe the world is serious about stopping them, they will race to the bomb. Israel reserves the right to act at any given moment in any given way,” Lapid said.
US officials stressed it was still Washington’s preference for the US, which abandoned the nuclear deal in 2018 during the Trump administration, and Iran, which began violating its nuclear limits about a year later, to resume compliance.
Iran struck the deal in 2015 with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US. The last round of Vienna talks took place in June and, Iran, beyond saying they would resume “soon,” has not set a new date.
The EU co-ordinator on Iran, Enrique Mora, plans to visit Tehran today, a trip diplomats from Britain, France and Germany, a group known as the E3, said came at a critical time as Iran keeps advancing its nuclear programme.
“The nuclear situation has worsened continuously and seriously,” said one E3 diplomat, alluding to Iran’s accelerating enrichment of uranium to higher fissile purity, a possible pathway to a nuclear bomb.