U.S. Special Representative for Iran Robert Malley maintained that “we’re in a critical phase of the efforts to see whether we can revive the JCPOA... the official reasons given by Iran for why we’re in this hiatus are wearing very thin. Particularly because at the same time as they are not coming to the table… they are taking steps to expand their nuclear program and they’re putting additional obstacles on the work of the IAEA, all of which is in contradiction or inconsistent with what they claim to be their desire to come back to the JCPOA”. Reporting on discussions with E3 and Gulf interlocutors, Malley referred to a “strong preference for diplomacy”, and that GCC officials had indicated “they wanted to engage more deeply with Iran on the economic front” if the JCPOA was revived, but noted too that “if diplomacy fails we have other tools and we will use other tools to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon”. He went on to emphasise that “even as we are trying to get back into the JCPOA, we are taking steps to counter and deter Iran’s aggressive behaviour in the region… we have also said that once we’re back in the JCPOA, we believe it should be a platform to help open the door for more discussions, diplomacy with Iran, with regional partners”.
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