The United States ‘will not take unilateral measures’ to advance negotiations with Iran

WASHINGTON – The United States “is unwilling and will not take unilateral measures such as sweeteners to sweeten marijuana just to start negotiations,” said Ned Price, a spokesman for the State Department. Speaking at the Department’s press conference on Monday, Price addressed a question about a New York Times history, according to which the administration is willing to incentivize Iran by easing sanctions to encourage it to negotiate faithfully in Vienna.

“A mutual return to compliance: it is in the interest of the United States; it is in the interest of the other members of the P5 + 1; It is also, as previous Iranian governments have concluded, in Tehran’s interests if we can get there, ”Price said. “We will be clear that we are not going to take unilateral measures for the simple fact of returning to the table.”

The New York Times also reported that US officials have warned Israel that its attacks on the Iranian nuclear program are counterproductive and have allowed Tehran to rebuild an even more efficient enrichment system. When asked about the report, Price said that “at the end of the day, the United States and Israel, we share a common goal here, and that is to ensure that Iran is verifiably and permanently prevented from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

“We continue to believe that diplomacy in coordination with our allies and partners, and that, of course, includes Israel, is the best way to achieve that goal,” he continued. “It is the best path because it puts us in an approach that is verifiable and that is sustainable and that is permanent, and that is one of the key advantages that the JCPOA transmits.”

Vienna’s indirect negotiations with Iran on a mutual return to the 2015 nuclear deal are expected to resume by the end of the month. “As of now, the talks are still scheduled to resume next Monday, November 29,” Price said.

The Iranian flag flies in front of the UN office building, which houses the IAEA headquarters, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Vienna, Austria, on May 24, 2021 (credit: LISI NIESNER / REUTERS).

The IAEA Board of Governors is expected to meet later this week before the Vienna talks. When asked whether the United States supports a censorship of Iran given the steps it has taken outside of the nuclear deal, Price said that “Iran’s provocative nuclear measures are of great concern to us.”

“They are also of great concern to our partners,” he said. “We have made it very clear that these continued nuclear escalations are not constructive and are in essence inconsistent with the stated objective, with Iran’s stated objective of returning to mutual compliance with the JCPOA.”

“We have also made it very clear that they do not have a constructive purpose,” Price continued. “They will not provide Iran with any leverage in the negotiations when the talks resume in Vienna next week.”

He said that “what we are trying to test in Vienna is not an approach that we adopt indefinitely, (…) because eventually Iran’s continued nuclear advances will give the advantage, the utility of returning to the JCPOA.”

“We haven’t gotten to that point yet,” Price continued. “We continue to believe that diplomacy provides the most sustainable, longest lasting, and indeed the only permanent and verifiable means of ensuring that Iran can never again obtain a nuclear weapon. And so we go back to Vienna to see if we can achieve that mutual return to compliance. “

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