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Nuclear negotiations are at “critical phase,” Biden’s Iran envoy says

US Special Envoy for Iran expressed concerns that Iran would continue to postpone its return back to the negotiation table, saying the efforts have reached a “critical phase.

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US Special Envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, commented on the latest situation about the talks with Iran to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. Emphasizing that excuses that Iran uses to refrain itself from turning back to the negotiation table are running out, Malley stated that efforts are at a “critical phase.”

“We are in a critical phase of the efforts to see whether we can revive the JCPOA,” the US envoy said, referring to the deal formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Malley added, “We have had a hiatus for many months and the official reasons given by Iran for why we are in this hiatus are wearing very thin.”

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Malley expressed Washington’s concerns regarding the possibility of Tehran’s insistence on postponing a return to talks. However, he underlined that there are other means, which would be employed if it is needed, to constrain Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

Robert Malley did not provide details about those other means. Yet, it is seen that Washington has frequently mentioned about appealing to other options, which could be considered as a weak signal of military action.

Recalling that the negotiations would not last forever, Malley said, “You cannot revive a corpse,” adding that that point has not been reached yet. However, he noted, “We will continue to pursue diplomacy, even as we pursue other steps if we face a world in which we need to do that.”

Malley’s remarks came after his tour to Gulf countries which took last week. Within the scope of his visit to the region, Malley came together with high officials from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar.

Regarding the impression he caught during the Gulf visit, Malley said, “all sides had a strong preference for diplomacy, for an effort to revive the JCPOA, and were that to happen, to find ways to engage Iran economically.”

Although Tehran has stated that it would return to talks in Vienna soon, the date has not been scheduled yet.

On Wednesday in Brussels, Ali Bagheri Kani, the newly appointed chief of Iran’s negotiation team, will reportedly meet with Enrique Mora, the EU official who coordinates the Vienna talks.

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