‘Ball Is in Iran’s Court’ to Return to Nuclear Deal, Blinken Says, but Not ‘Indefinitely’
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Iran that time is running out for a return to the nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and that the Islamic Republic must decide where it stands on the accord, noting that “the ball is in Iran’s court.” Blinken told reporters in Kuwait on Thursday that the US is “committed to diplomacy, but this process cannot go on indefinitely.” He also noted: “At some point, the gains achieved by the JCPOA cannot be fully recovered by a return to the JCPOA if Iran continues the activities that it’s undertaken with regard to its nuclear program,” meaning that you simply cannot put the genie back in the bottle. The US withdrew from the agreement in 2018 under former President Donald Trump, putting strict sanctions back into place. Iran, in turn, has violated its commitment to the limits set by the agreement, including enriching uranium to a much higher level of purity and holding large stockpiles of enriched nuclear material. President Joe Biden has vowed to return the US to the nuclear deal with Iran. The world powers and Iran held six rounds of direct talks in Vienna, and indirect talks with the US from April 2021 up until the Islamic Republic’s June elections, which voted in a hard-line new president.