US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley revealed on Wednesday that President Joe Biden was ready to resort to the military option to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon in case sanctions and diplomacy failed.
Speaking to Foreign Policy, Malley hinted at several measures.
“We will have the sanctions; we will have the pressure; [and] we will have the diplomacy… If none of that works, the President has said, as a last resort, he will agree to a military option, because if that’s what it takes to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, that’s what will happen. But we’re not there,” the US envoy said.
He added that the Biden administration was still hopeful Iran would change its current path.
Malley noted that the indirect negotiations between Washington and Tehran stopped after Iran made additional demands that had nothing to do with the essence of the nuclear agreement.
The US envoy for Iran has recently reiterated that Washington no longer saw Tehran’s nuclear program as separate from other issues.
“Our focus on the agreement is not moving forward”, in light of the widespread popular protests taking place in Iran and the “brutal repression of the regime against the protesters,” he remarked.
After pointing to Iran’s selling of armed drones to Russia, Malley stressed his country’s commitment to “liberating our hostages,” referring to the three American citizens held in Iran.
For his part, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that the Iranian regime “profoundly” misunderstands its citizens by blaming external parties for the protests that have swept the country since mid-September.
“What’s happening in Iran is first and foremost about Iranians, about their future, about their country. And it’s not about us,” Blinken told CNN. “And one of the profound mistakes that the regime makes is to try to point the finger at others, at the United States, Europeans, claiming that we’re somehow responsible for instigating or otherwise fanning the flames of the protests. That is to profoundly, fundamentally misunderstand their own people.”
The US Secretary of State noted that the world “is rightly focused on what’s happening in the streets in Iran,” adding that the US has worked to ensure the Iranian people have “the communications technology that they need to continue to communicate with one another and stay connected to the outside world.”
“There are other steps that we’re taking diplomatically, across international organizations and with many other countries, to make clear how the world sees the repression that’s going on in Iran, to try to hold down those who are simply trying to peacefully express their views,” he told the channel.