Iran’s Resistance to Nuclear Talks 'Wearing Very Thin' for US and Allies
The US and its closest partners in the Middle East and Europe are discussing potential next steps with Iran if the latter continues to stall nuclear negotiations in Vienna, according to the US Iran envoy, Rob Malley, speaking to reporters in a conference call on Monday.
This comes after a series of high-level diplomatic talks on Iran that Malley had last week during visits to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, that was followed by a trip to Paris to meet senior diplomats from France, Germany and the UK, according to an Axios report.
US, European, Israeli and Arab officials warned Iran that its continued resistance to rejoining the talks in Vienna will not be ignored or left unpunished — adding that the country will face greater international isolation and new economic penalties along with military intervention if it moves forward with its nuclear program.
“All of our interlocutors shared growing concern about Iran’s nuclear advancement. This is a regional and global concern and there was shared impatience. At the same time there is a strong preference for diplomacy and efforts to revive the nuclear deal in order to engage Iran economically right afterwards," Malley reportedly said.
Malley emphasized the diplomatic effort is “at a critical phase” and that the Iranians' explanations for not returning to the Vienna talks “are wearing very thin."
“We have given a lot of thought to what we will do if Iran doesn’t go back to the table. We will have various ways to address that and this is what we talked about with our partners," Malley said.
In the meantime, Iran is reportedly making significant advances, producing highly-enriched uranium that is moving closer to the 90% grade needed to produce a nuclear weapon.
Malley mentioned the use of tools to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, but did not disclose further details. He added that there was "increased concern" that Iran would elect to return to the negotiating table with unrealistic demands.