US says it won’t ‘waste time’ on Iran nuclear deal

The Biden administration has said it will waste no time trying to revive talks with Iran over Tehran’s brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters and its support for Russia in the war in Ukraine.

At an event hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on Monday, the US ambassador to Iran, Rob Malley, said the administration was unapologetic about its efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

File: US Special Representative for Iran Robert Malley, June 20.  2021  Austria  Shown in Vienna.

File: US Special Representative for Iran Robert Malley, June 20. 2021 Austria Shown in Vienna.
(AP Photo/Florian Schroetter, File)

Malley’s comments came closest to an admission by a Biden administration official that he was abandoning his efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

In the summer, Iranian officials rejected the EU’s proposal and made further demands in late August and early September. Since then, anti-government protests have erupted in Iran in response to the police detention of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. Amini was detained by morality police in September after her hair was not properly covered by the Islamic headscarf known as the hijab, which is mandatory for Iranian women.

At least 270 people were killed and 14,000 arrested, according to the Iranian Human Rights Activists Group. Protests continue despite warnings from Iran’s youth by the feared paramilitary Revolutionary Guards to stop.

The government has announced sanctions against Iranian officials for their brutal treatment of protesters. The U.S. military ordered strikes against Iran-backed militias in Syria in August in response to U.S. forces in the region, which imposed sanctions on Iran for supplying Russia with drones and technical aid.

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How the Biden Administration Could Help Iran Protesters and Pressure the Government: Nonprofit;

“I think people should understand that our hands are not tied … the hope is that someday we’ll get an agreement,” Malley said. “No, we are taking action. We are not waiting. We are taking action that we consistently believe is necessary to advance our values ​​and our national security interests.”

FILE - An Iranian flag is seen in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters building on May 24, before a news conference by IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi, which monitors Iran's nuclear energy program.  2021  Vienna  Austria.

FILE – An Iranian flag is seen in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters building on May 24, before a news conference by IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi, which monitors Iran’s nuclear energy program. 2021 Vienna Austria.
(Photo by Michael Gruber/Getty Images)

The Iran nuclear deal, which President Biden has been trying to revive since August, is headed for failure, and his administration says Tehran is trying to force indirect talks on the issue. Still, the administration has not given up all hope for change.

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The deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), would provide Tehran with billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for agreeing to scale back its nuclear program within the limits set out in the 2015 accord.

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The Obama administration intervened before the Trump administration abandoned it in 2018. This includes enrichment packages and limits on how much material Iran can store and the operation of the advanced centrifuges needed to enrich it.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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