Secretary of State Antony Blinken remarked that “Iran is engaged in a number of activities, including funding extremist groups, supporting terrorism more broadly, supporting very dangerous proxies that are taking destabilising actions throughout the Middle East, proliferating weapons… An Iran with a nuclear weapon or with the capability to build one in very short order is going to act with even greater impunity in those areas, which just adds to the urgency of trying to put the nuclear problem back in the box that the nuclear agreement put it in”. “Many of these actions… have gone forward over the last few years under the so-called maximum pressure”, Blinken observed. He also referred to the JCPOA negotiations in Vienna, indicating that “we know what sanctions would need to be lifted if they’re inconsistent with the nuclear agreement, but as important and indeed more important, Iran, I think, knows what it needs to do to come back into compliance on the nuclear side. And what we haven’t seen is whether Iran is ready and willing to make a decision to do what it has to do”. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif subsequently addressed Blinken in a tweet, contending that “lifting Trump’s sanctions… is a legal and moral obligation. Not negotiating leverage. Didn’t work for Trump—[it] won't work for you”.
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