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August 31, 2021 4:28 pm
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New Iranian FM Warns Tehran May Not Return to Nuclear Talks Until November 

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

Members of the Iranian Parliament cast their ballots during a vote of confidence in the cabinet of President Ebrahim Raisi, at the Islamic Consultative Assembly in Tehran, Iran August 25, 2021. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

Iran’s new foreign minister hinted that a resumption of talks on the revival of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal could take up to two to three months.

“The other side understands that it will take two or three months for the new government to be established in Iran and plan for any sort of decision on this topic,” Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told state TV in an interview on Monday night.

Last week, Iran’s parliament approved most of the hardline nominees put forward by newly elected President Ebrahim Raisi. Among the new cabinet members is Amir-Abdollahian, an Islamist ideologue who retains close ties with Hezbollah in Lebanon and other of the regime’s terrorist proxies in the region.

Amir-Abdollahian’s comments came after Russia urged Iran to restart talks in Vienna over reviving the nuclear deal as soon as possible. In a recent phone conversation with the new Iranian foreign minister, EU High Representative of foreign affairs Josep Borrell also called for a “quick resumption” of the negotiations.

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Borrell, who is also the Coordinator of the JCPOA Joint Commission, expressed concern about the recent nuclear steps by Iran and the overall trajectory of the nuclear program. According to a report this month by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran has accelerated its enrichment of uranium to near weapons-grade.

“Iran’s nuclear activities and gaps in IAEA coverage are serious. There’s a risk that as this drags on, the one-year breakout timeline will be unrecoverable,” tweeted Eric Brewer, senior fellow with the Project on Nuclear Issues at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

In the interview with state TV, Amir-Abdollahian claimed that Iran is not seeking to escape from the negotiating table and that the Islamic Republic has asked the “other side to change their approach in the negotiations.”

“We do not accept the approach of wasting time. The negotiations must have tangible results in the interests of the Iranian people,” he added.

Commenting on the potential delay in the revival of nuclear talks, Michael Singh, Managing Director at the Washington Institute said, “Whether Iran is simply engaging in brinkmanship or never actually intends to return to the JCPOA, the question for the US and E3 is if and when to call an end to the effort to revive the JCPOA.”

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