US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned on Friday that the lack of an interim deal to monitor Iran’s nuclear activities could prompt the United States to abandon efforts to join a nuclear deal.
“We’ll see if we can bridge the differences, but they are real, and we must – we must be able to bridge them,” Blinken said at a briefing in Paris after meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le. Drian. .
“I would say to you that as far as the IAEA is concerned, this remains a serious concern, a concern that we communicated to Iran, and it must be – must be resolved.”
The International Atomic Energy Agency said a three-month interim monitoring agreement reached on February 21 expired on Thursday after being extended for one month.
Iran says nuclear talks will be postponed for consultations in capitals
It was not known when formal negotiations would resume
The agency said it was seeking an “immediate response” from Iran on whether it would extend the monitoring deal, according to an internal agency statement seen by Reuters news agency.
Blinken, who is visiting Paris as part of a multinational European tour, admitted earlier Friday at a press conference in Paris that the United States could possibly decide not to join the deal if negotiations in Vienna continue without progress.
“There will come a time, yes, when it will be very difficult to return to the standards set by the JCPOA”, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the great powers to curb its program of uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations.
He called on Iran to make “tough” decisions to advance talks that could revive the deal.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement Friday that “the opposing parties are the ones who have to make the decisions.”
US, Germany launch effort to fight Holocaust denial
US Secretary of State Tony Blinken said the partnership “will ensure that present and future generations know about and learn from the Holocaust as well.”
The negotiating parties held talks for six weeks, and a sixth round of indirect talks ended last Sunday with major issues still unresolved.
Le Drian underscored Blinken’s warning, telling reporters in Paris on Friday that it was up to Iran to push the talks forward.
“It has been six weeks since negotiations resumed. Progress has been made and now we will enter the most difficult times. It will require strong and courageous decisions on the part of the new Iranian authorities, but now is the time, ”said Le Drian.
Blinken met with French President Emmanuel Macron later on Friday.
America’s top diplomat arrived in France from Germany, where on Thursday he and German leaders said the United States and Germany were teaming up to fight Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism , an effort which, according to the secretary of state, “will ensure that present and future generations experience the Holocaust.” and also learn from it.
Libya conference focuses on elections and security
Participants agree on need to support December vote and the departure of foreign fighters from the country
Speaking at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, Blinken said Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism go hand in hand with homophobia, xenophobia, racism and other forms of discrimination, and have become “a rallying cry for those who seek to tear down our democracies.”
Also on Thursday in Berlin, Libyan Secretary of State and Acting Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dabaiba spoke in the wake of an international conference focused on supporting Libya’s transition to a permanent and stable government.
Wednesday’s conference, hosted by Germany and the United Nations, included officials from 17 countries and increased support for national elections in Libya slated for late December.
Libya has experienced political instability since the NATO-backed uprising in 2011 that ousted long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi from power. Rival governments operated in different parts of the country for years before a ceasefire agreement in October that included a request for all foreign fighters and mercenaries to leave Libya within 90 days.
Defeating the Islamic State will be the focus of a conference co-hosted by Blinken and Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio in Rome. The senior American diplomat will also participate in a ministerial meeting in Italy to discuss Syria and the humanitarian needs there.
Blinken is also expected to visit the Vatican, where the agenda includes tackling climate change and human trafficking.
This report includes information from Reuters and AFP.