Top US Official Says Iran Has Met Interim Obligations


tony blinkenIran has upheld all of its obligations under an interim nuclear agreement with a group of six world powers, a senior US State Department official asserted Monday.

Speaking to the administration’s resolve to reach an effective long-term agreement with Iran, Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told the audience at the American Jewish Committee’s annual Global Forum that Israel’s security had already been improved under the provisions of the temporary agreement that went into effect in January 2014, known as the Joint Plan of Action.

Acknowledging that Israel and the United States have disagreed as to the steps necessary to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon, Blinken said that “we may have our differences, but our bedrock security relationship is sacrosanct and it is stronger than ever. It is at the center of our minds when we sit at the negotiating table with Iran.”

He added that “there is not an inch of daylight between the US and Israel” regarding the “core strategic goal” of preventing a nuclear-armed Iran.

The deputy secretary spoke to the audience in place of Secretary of State John Kerry, who was originally supposed to address the annual convention, but was forced to cancel his appearance after he broke his thigh in a biking accident.

Blinken argued that Israel is safer now from a nuclear Iran than it was 18 months ago, before the Joint Plan of Action was implemented and Iran received partial sanctions relief.

As a result of the JPOA, Blinken asserted, “Iran has halted process on some aspects of its nuclear program and has rolled it back in certain ways.” International inspectors, he said, “have been able to verify that Iran is indeed living up to its commitments.”

He spoke out against the detractors of the potential deal, saying that “many concerns are simply misplaced and are more myth than fact,” listing among those the expiration or “sunset clause” for nuclear oversight.

“The deal will not expire and there will not be a so-called sunset,” Blinken stressed, explaining that the monitoring of nuclear access and protocols and Iran’s obligations to uphold all of the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty would remain in perpetuity.

In contrast, he warned, “if we don’t get a deal, the provisions of the Joint Plan of Action will sunset immediately.”

Blinken argued that “there is simply no better option for preventing Iran from obtaining the material for a nuclear bomb” than the current course of action taken by the P5+1 negotiating states.

Read more at Times of Israel.