US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday warned 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.
“This remains a serious concern,” Blinken said at a press conference in Paris. “The concern has been communicated to Iran and 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. The agency said it was negotiating a second extension with Tehran.
Blinken, who is visiting Paris as part of a multinational European tour, acknowledged that the United States could eventually 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 (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action),” a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the great powers to curb its enrichment program uranium in exchange for the lifting of sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations.
The negotiating parties held talks for six weeks, and a sixth round of indirect talks ended last Sunday with major issues still unresolved.
Iran says nuclear talks will be postponed for consultations in capitals
It was not known when formal negotiations would resume
French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian underscored Blinken’s warning, telling the Paris press conference on Friday that it was up to Iran to push the talks forward.
“We are waiting for the Iranian authorities to take the tough final decisions to allow the relaunch of the 2015 nuclear deal,” he said.
Blinken meets 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, âwill ensure that present and future generations know about the Holocaust and also learn from it.
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.”
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.”
Earlier Thursday in Berlin, Libyan Secretary of State and Acting Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dabaiba spoke on the heels 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 conference focuses on elections and security
Participants agree on need to support December vote and the departure of foreign fighters from the country
A senior US State Department official told reporters on Wednesday that the elections are important “not only to legitimize a credible long-term Libyan government” but also to help achieve the goal of carrying out an existing call for that all foreign fighters leave the country. .
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 demand that all foreign fighters and mercenaries leave Libya within 90 days.
In a press conference following Wednesday’s conference, Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush said there was progress towards the exit of foreign fighters and that “I hope that in the coming days, the mercenaries on both sides will be withdrawn â.
A senior US State Department official told reporters that achieving this goal is an important step that “must now be made operational.”
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 US diplomat will also attend a ministerial meeting in Italy to discuss Syria and humanitarian needs there.
Blinken is also due to visit the Vatican, where Reeker said the agenda includes tackling climate change and human trafficking.
This report includes information from Reuters and AFP.