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January 19, 2021 5:36 pm

Biden’s Nominee for Secretary of State Says US Would Enter ‘Longer and Stronger Agreement’ With Iran

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Antony J. Blinken, of New York, speaks during his confirmation hearing to be Secretary of State before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, US. January 19, 2021. Alex Edelman/Pool via REUTERS

Ahead of US President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday, his nominee for Secretary of State told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the new administration would entertain a new deal with Iran if there was a “longer and stronger agreement.”

“If Iran comes back into compliance we would too,” Anthony Blinken — Biden’s nominee — told the Tuesday hearing.

Blinken, who served as both Deputy Secretary of State and Deputy National Security Adviser during the Obama administration, explained that his approach would be to use the return to the 2015 nuclear deal exited by President Donald Trump as a “platform” for a broader agreement.

“We would use that as a platform with our allies and partners, who would once again be on the same side with us, to seek a longer and stronger agreement,” Blinken stressed.

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He added that the issue of Iran’s ballistic missile program would also be addressed, but that at the moment “we’re a long way from there.”

Blinken also said that the US would work actively to restore confidence with its allies and partners under the new administration.

“The reality is that the world doesn’t organize itself. When we’re not engaged, when we aren’t leading, then one of two things will probably happen: either some other country tries to take our place, but not in a way that advances our interests or values,” Blinken said. “Or, maybe just as bad, no one does, and then you get chaos. Either way, that does not serve the American people. Humility and confidence should be the flip sides of America’s leadership coin.”

On the Israeli-Palestinian dimension of the Middle East conflict, Blinken confirmed that the US commitment to the Jewish state’s well-being was “sacrosanct.”

Blinken said he supported a two-state solution, describing the current situation as “very challenged.”

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