U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a news conference with Morocco’s Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, at the Foreign Ministry in Rabat, Morocco, Tuesday, March 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)
UPDATED 9:46 AM PT – Tuesday, March 29, 2022
The U.S. State Department is revamping its calls to stomp Iran’s nuclear ambitions. On Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with top diplomats from Israel, the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain and Morocco in Jerusalem to discuss the threat posed by Iran’s growing power.
Experts pointed out, this meeting between Israel and several Gulf Arab States suggests monumental strides to achieve peace in the Middle East. Additionally, they stressed this builds off of President Donald Trump’s 2020 Abraham Accords, which aimed to normalize relations between Israel and the rest of the region.
Despite this, Blinken argued the best way to combat Iran’s aggression and development of its nuclear program is to return to the controversial Obama-era nuclear deal.
“An Iran with a nuclear weapon or the capacity to produce one on short notice would become even more aggressive and would believe it could act with a false sense of impunity,” asserted the Secretary of State. “The United States believes that a return to full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the best way to put Iran’s nuclear program back in the box that it was in, but has escaped from since the United States withdrew from that agreement.”
Since taking office, reviving the 2015 agreement had been a top priority for the Biden administration. However, this week the State Department lamented the deal is now in the hands of the Ayatollah regime after months of stalled talks and negotiating with Iran through third party diplomats.
Biden had already made concessions to Iran by waiving sanctions on its civilian nuclear program and possibly taking the Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps off of the U.S. terrorist list. The delisting of the IRGC has been a major criticism from regional partners, especially from the Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu. They warned the IRGC has been aiding terrorist activities in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.
“Their proxy, the Houthis, just this weekend carried out a horrific attack on Saudi Arabia,” Bennett explained. “I hope the United States will hear the concerned voices from the region, Israel’s and others on this very important issue.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett gives a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, after their meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office, Sunday, March 27, 2022, in Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)
Meanwhile at a forum in Doha, Qatar, Special U.S. Envoy to Iran, Rob Malley stressed the nuclear deal does not cover the IRGC designation. Malley added, President Joe Biden has no intention of taking the group off the terror list.
“I can tell you that the IRGC will remain sanctioned under U.S. law,” he stated. “And our perception and our views, our policy towards the IRGC, will not have changed.”
In the meantime, Blinken vowed to continue to push for a nuclear deal with Iran while claiming it would hinder the rouge state’s nuclear ambitions. The Secretary of State added, he and Israeli diplomats will work together to combat Iran’s attacks in the region. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid accepted the continuance of a U.S.-Israel partnership, but reiterated his country does not support the deal with Iran.
“Israel will do anything we believe is needed to stop the Iranian nuclear program, anything,” he stated. “From our point of view, the Iranian threat is not theoretical. The Iranians want to destroy Israel. They will not succeed; we will not let them.”
The U.S. State Department has lamented it’s not clear if a deal with Iran will be reached anytime soon.