Biden pledges US response to Iran drone strikes and calls for new conversation

The United States would respond to any Iranian drone strikes or any measures by Tehran against American interests, US President Joe Biden said on Saturday, after talks with major European powers on diplomatic measures to stop the Islamic regime’s nuclear program.
“Regarding the question of how we are going to respond to actions taken by them against the interests of the United States, be it drone strikes or anything else, we are going to respond and we are going to continue to respond,” Biden said. to journalists in Rome, before their trip to the United Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

On Friday, the US Treasury issued new sanctions against Iran that specifically targeted the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) drone program in the wake of the Iranian drone strike in early October against an American military base in Syria.

The US Treasury said the IRGC has been providing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones for use by Iran-backed groups, including the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, and in crisis-hit Ethiopia. Last month

The move is part of the diplomatic tightrope that the Biden administration has walked with respect to Iran as it continues to act against Tehran’s military threats even as it seeks to revive the 2015 Iran deal, which the former Trump administration abandoned in 2018.

A RECENT MEETING of the JCPOA Joint Commission in Vienna. Can Israel convince the Biden administration to halt its run back to the deal? (credit: REUTERS)

The latest round of indirect talks to reactivate the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is expected to take place in late November. The JCPOA was signed by Tehran and the six world powers, including the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany, and Great Britain.

On the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome on Saturday, Biden met with the leaders of the agreement’s European signatories, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

“We met to reiterate our shared belief that diplomacy, diplomacy is the best way to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and we discussed the best way to encourage Iran to resume serious and good faith negotiations,” Biden said.

The success of the negotiations for the reactivation of the accord would depend in part on whether the other signatories would be willing to credibly threaten Iran with sanctions should it refuse to resume the accord, Biden said.

The resurgence of the JCPOA “will depend on its [Iranian] action and the willingness of our friends, who are part of the original agreement, to stay with us and make sure there is a price to pay financially for them if they don’t come back, “Biden said.

In an interview with CBS, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Biden administration would seek other options should the talks with Iran fail.

“All options are on the table,” Blinken said. “The president is very prepared to take whatever action is appropriate at a time and place of our choosing by whatever means is appropriate to prevent and prevent Iran from participating in these activities or its representatives from participating in these activities.”

Of particular concern, he said, is Iran’s continued advance toward producing fissile material for a nuclear weapon. “Iran, unfortunately, is aggressively advancing its program,” he said.

Blinken also questioned the effectiveness of the JCPOA, if the delays in talks continue.

“The other thing that’s getting shorter is the track we have where, if we go back to comply with the agreement and Iran to comply again, we actually regain all the benefits of the agreement. Iran is learning enough, doing enough, so that’s it. it’s starting to be a problem, “Blinken said.

“We still believe that diplomacy is the best way forward to put the nuclear program back in the box it had been in under the agreement, the so-called JCPOA,” Blinken said.

Iran’s foreign minister said on Sunday that if the United States was serious about rejoining the 2015 nuclear deal, Biden could simply issue an “executive order,” the Iranian state newspaper reported.

“It is enough that Biden issues an executive order tomorrow and they [US] they announce that they rejoin the pact from the point where their predecessor abandoned the agreement, “Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told the Iranian daily.

“If there is a serious will in Washington to return to the agreement, there is no need for all these negotiations.”

Tehran has said its nuclear steps since Trump abandoned the deal, saying it was flawed to Iran’s benefit, are reversible “if Washington lifts sanctions in a verifiable process.”

Concerned that Iran now enriches uranium close to the bomb-grade fissile purity level, Western powers have repeatedly urged Tehran to resume talks, saying the diplomatic window will not remain open forever.

“Washington wants to continue with much of the sanctions imposed by Trump on Iran. This is unacceptable to Iran,” Amirabdollahian said.

Iran denies any intention to develop nuclear bombs.

Progress toward restoring the accord is curbing sharp disagreements between the United States and Iran over what steps should be taken and when. Key issues include what nuclear limits Tehran will accept and what sanctions Washington will remove.

In addition to seeking the lifting of Trump-era sanctions, including those related to Iran’s human rights record and alleged support for terrorism, Tehran has other demands, such as guarantees that Washington will not again breach the agreement.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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