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US will not ‘sit idly’ if Iran drags out nuclear talks, says envoy

Robert Malley, US Special Envoy for Iran, in Vienna, Austria, on June 20, 2021. (AP/ Florian Schroetter)
Robert Malley, US Special Envoy for Iran, in Vienna, Austria, on June 20, 2021. (AP/ Florian Schroetter)

The United States will not “sit idly” on Iran if it drags its feet on returning to a nuclear accord in talks resuming next week, the US special envoy says.

“If they start getting too close, too close for comfort, then of course we will not be prepared to sit idly,” US negotiator Rob Malley tells National Public Radio.

Iran will return to talks in Vienna with world powers on Monday after a five-month gap following the election of an ultra-conservative president, Ebrahim Raisi.

The negotiations come after the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, back from a visit to Iran, said there had been no progress in talks on disputes over the country’s program.

US President Joe Biden’s administration opened the talks earlier this year in hopes of returning the United States to a 2015 nuclear accord trashed by predecessor Donald Trump, but has failed to reach an understanding with Iran.

“We’re prepared to get back into the deal and to lift all of the sanctions that are inconsistent with the deal. So if Iran wants to get back into the deal, it has a way to do that,” Malley says.

“If it doesn’t want to get back into the deal, if it continues to do what it appears to be doing now, which is to drag its feet at the nuclear diplomatic table and accelerate its pace when it comes to its nuclear program, if that’s the path it chooses, we’ll have to respond accordingly.”

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