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Blinken Says Pause on UAE F-35 Sale, US Will Rejoin Nuclear Deal When Iran Complies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed reports that Washington has temporarily halted the F-35 deal signed by the previous administration with the United Arab Emirates, saying it was “typical” for incoming presidents to review pending sales to ensure they “advance [their] strategic objectives.”

Blinken on Wednesday held his first news conference, a day after taking office, answering questions on a host of foreign policy issues.

“The US will also review the decision to blacklist the Yemeni Houthi movement, and the US-Taliban agreement signed a year ago,” Blinken announced.

He reiterated President Joe Biden’s support for the recently signed Abraham Accords between Israel and Arab nations in the Gulf and Africa, and promised to try to advance more normalization agreements.

On the issue of Iran, Washington’s new top diplomat said that if Tehran elects to “come back into full compliance with its obligations under the [2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action reached between Iran and world powers], the US will do the same.” Blinken added that Washington would use the renewed deal “as a platform to build with our allies and partners a longer and stronger agreement and deal with a number of other issues that are deeply problematic in the relationship with Iran,” alluding to the Islamic Republic’s missile program and aggressive regional activities. “We’re a long way from that,” he admitted. “We’re not there yet to say the least.”