US national security advisor says there are direct talks with Iran on hostages

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan says Washington has started direct negotiations with Iran on the return of American hostages.

“We intend to very directly communicate with the Iranians about the complete and utter outrage, the humanitarian catastrophe that is the unjust, unlawful detention of American citizens,” Sullivan tells CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“We have begun to communicate with the Iranians on this issue, yes, and we will continue to do so as we go forward,” he says, adding that it will be a “significant priority” for the Biden administration.

Sullivan says US President Joe Biden is also open to direct talks with Iran on the nuclear deal, adding that Tehran has yet to respond to the offer.

“Joe Biden is intent, determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Second, he believes that hardheaded, clear-eyed diplomacy is the best way to do that. And so he’s prepared to go to the table to talk to the Iranians about how we get strict constraints back on their nuclear program. That offer still stands.

“Iran has not yet responded. But what’s happened as a result is that the script has been flipped. It is Iran that is isolated now diplomatically, not the United States, and the ball is in their court.”

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