US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held out hope on Friday for a diplomatic resolution to restore the landmark 2015 nuclear deal world power struck with Tehran, but offered a grim assessment on the current situation.
Blinken maintained that the US has an abiding interest in Iran's nuclear program returning to the constraints imposed by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and said the US continues "to believe that diplomacy is the best way to do that."
"But in this moment, there's no prospect for an agreement again, because Iran continues to inject extraneous issues into the conversations that we've had. And the European Union, our partners, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, are all in the same place when it comes to that," the top diplomat said during a joint press conference with his French counterpart at the State Department.
Former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the pact in 2018 in a futile attempt to get Iran to re-negotiate it, and other outstanding issues. But the ex-president's actions only resulted in Iran reneging on many of its JCPOA commitments, and breaching limits on the nuclear constraints the pact imposed.
Blinken's comments come as the outstanding disputes between Washington and Tehran continue to multiply, with the US publicly announcing this week that Iran has deployed forces to the Crimean Peninsula to help Russia carry out strikes across Ukraine using Iranian-supplied combat drones.
Advancing diplomacy with Russia
Turning to Russia, Blinken maintained the US "will consider every means to advance diplomacy" with the Kremlin, adding that "if we see an opening to advance it by whatever means, of course, we'll always look at it."
"But as I said, in this moment, Russia shows no signs of being willing to engage in meaningful diplomacy by any means," he added.
The US has been a driving force behind the western opposition to Russia's war on Ukraine, leading a diplomatic push to impose costs on Moscow in retaliation for its war against Ukraine.