US denies Iran’s claim it is eager to renew nuclear deal
WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) – State Department
Spokesperson Ned Price unambiguously rebutted the claim of Iran’s Foreign Minister that the US was “in a rush” to renew the 2015 nuclear deal, concluded under the Obama administration and formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which Donald Trump left in 2018.
The Iranian claim followed the strongest statements yet from the Biden
administration to the effect that it was not interested in pursuing those
negotiations at this time.
That position was articulated most clearly, and strongly, on Thursday by John Kirby, a retired Navy officer and formerly Pentagon Press Secretary, who is now the Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the White House.
False Iranian Claim After Strong US Statement
On Saturday, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, contradicted the claim of Kirby and other administration spokespersons that restoring the JCPOA was not now a particular focus of US policy.
Amir-Abdollahian denied that, asserting that there were private communications between Washington and Tehran, and “they are even in a rush to reach a nuclear deal with us.”
Amir-Abdollahian’s statement followed the tough stance that Kirby had expressed on Thursday. Kirby’s remarks focused on denouncing Iranian drone sales to Russia, but he was also asked about the US position on renewing the JCPOA.
Kirby responded with language similar to—but stronger than—that used by other US officials.
“Our focus right now is not on the JCPOA,” Kirby said. “We are far apart [from] the Iranians in terms of a return to the deal,” while he noted that the Iranians “had demands that were well in excess of what the JCPOA was supposed to cover.”
US Flatly Denies Amir-Abdollahian’s Claim
Asked on Monday about Amir-Abdollahian’s statement that the US was “in a rush” to renew the JCPOA, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price flatly denied that claim.
Price emphasized two developments that have played a key role in shifting the Biden administration’s policy, leading it to become much broader than it was initially, when it was narrowly focused on restoring the JCPOA.
One development is the protests in Iran that have been ongoing for over a month—triggered by the Sept. 16 death of a young Kurdish woman, Jina (Mahsa) Amini, in the custody of Tehran’s so-called morality police.
The other development is Iranian arms sales to Russia—above all drones, which Russia is using to attack civilian targets in Ukraine. As Kirby detailed, there are even Iranian forces on the ground helping Russian troops to use the drones in attacks on Ukrainians.
No issue is more important to Washington (and Europe) than Russia’s
unprovoked assault on Ukraine. It echoes the start of World War II, when Adolph Hitler’s aggression began with the claim that he was protecting ethnic Germans in central Europe.
Thus, as Price explained on Monday, Amir-Abdollahian’s claim that Washington was secretly imploring Tehran to renew the JCPOA was simply false.
“There has been no such message to Iran. Those reports are not at all accurate,” Price said. “Our only message would be a simple one: stop killing your people,” after which he added, “Stop sending weapons to Russia to kill Ukrainians.”
“These are the same messages that we have conveyed publicly that we would convey privately,” he concluded.
And those are the two issues which most preoccupy the US now regarding Iran—and not the renewal of the JCPOA.