Blinken tries to calm allies ahead of possible Iran deal - ednews.net

24 May, Tuesday

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Blinken tries to calm allies ahead of possible Iran deal

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday tried to soothe the fears of Israel and its Gulf Arab allies ahead of the possible renewal of global powers’ international nuclear deal with Iran.

Blinken made the comments shortly before joining his counterparts from Israel and four Arab countries at a special gathering where the Iranian nuclear deal was expected to top the agenda. Israel and many of its neighbors are fiercely opposed to the deal, which they believe with embolden and enrich Iran.

"When it comes to the most important element, we see eye-to-eye,” Blinken told reporters at a news conference with Israel's foreign minister. "We are both committed, both determined that Iran will never acquire a nuclear weapon.”

The Biden administration has been working to renew the 2015 nuclear deal, which placed curbs on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief. With support from Israel, the Trump administration withdrew from the deal in 2018, causing it to unravel.

Although Iran has since raced ahead with its nuclear program, Israel and Gulf Arab countries are deeply concerned about restoring the original deal. Israel fears it does not include enough safeguards to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Both Israel and its Gulf allies also believe that relief from economic sanctions will allow Iran to step up its military activities across the region, including support for hostile militant groups.

Blinken said the US believes that restoring the nuclear deal "is the best way to put Iran's program back in the box it was in.” He added: "Our commitment to the core principle of Iran never acquiring a nuclear weapon is unwavering.”

He also vowed to cooperate with Israel to counter Iran's "aggressive behavior” across the region.

It remains unclear if or when the nuclear deal will be renewed, but there are indications it could be soon despite several last-minute snags, one of which involves Iran's demand for the US to lift its designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a "foreign terrorist organisation.”

Israel is deeply opposed to such a step and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told Blinken that he hoped "the United States will hear the concerned voices from the region — Israel’s and others — on this very important issue.”

 

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