White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said last Monday that US President Joe Biden has asked his national security team to examine “alternative options” if dialogue with Iran fails, citing “the way the Iranians handled the travel.”
Biden asked the national security team to “prepare in the event of a failure of diplomacy, and to consider other options,” Psaki said at a press conference in Washington, adding that consultations “are ongoing with a group of partners around the world on the next steps, and what form they will take.”
The seventh round of indirect discussions between Iran and the US, intended at getting the two countries back into full compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement, was halted last Friday.
A senior source in US President Joe Biden’s administration told reporters on Friday that the US believes Iran’s time to create a nuclear weapon is now “very short and worrisome.”
This comes as some senior US officials, including former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and retired General David Petraeus, have pushed President Biden to undertake big military drills or other intimidation measures against Iran.
Diplomats from France, Germany, and Britain said that “some progress has been made at the technical level in the last 24 hours” but cautioned that “we are quickly heading to the end of the road in these negotiations”.
European negotiators with their counterparts from Iran, China, and Russia concluded the seventh round of negotiations after several days of intense talks and did not set a date for the next session, which they hope will be held before the end of the year.
They said that the head of the Iranian negotiating delegation, Ali Baqeri, had expressed a desire to return to Tehran, considering the suspension of talks for an unspecified reason “Disappointing.”
For his part, Tehran’s chief negotiator Ali Bagheri said that this round of talks “included conveying the views and positions of the new government,” adding, “We now have two new drafts, the first on canceling the imposed embargo and the second on nuclear measures.”
The main challenge to the negotiations is to get the United States back into the agreement, with Washington participating indirectly.
In 2018, the United States withdrew from the international nuclear agreement concluded in Vienna in 2015, which aims to limit Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions against Iran.
Then it re-imposed sanctions on Tehran that severely affect the Iranian economy.
About a year after the US withdrawal from the agreement, Iran has gradually retreated from implementing most of the basic commitments it stipulates.