US point man on Iran nuke talks says chances for deal slim

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

US Special Envoy for Iran tells a congressional panel that prospects for restoring the Iran nuclear agreement are “at best tenuous.”

“We do not have a deal with Iran and prospects for reaching one are, at best, tenuous,” Malley testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Malley all but confirms Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s announcement yesterday that US President Joe Biden has made a final decision to keep Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations list.

He explains that demands that go beyond the scope of the original nuclear deal would have to be met with reciprocal concessions by Iran which also fall outside the parameters of the 2015 JCPOA, such as an IRGC delisting. But since Iran has refused to make any such concessions, the US would not do so either, Malley says.

Malley is pushed by senators from both parties to reveal the administration’s Plan B if negotiations in Vienna fail at their objective of restoring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The special envoy largely dodges and avoids offering a timeline for when the US would walk away from the talks.

He says the US would continue to negotiate “as long as the non-proliferations benefits of the deal are worth the sanctions relief that we would provide.”

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