The United States is determined to prevent the Iranian regime from acquiring a nuclear weapon. President Joe Biden has repeatedly made that clear. He has also made clear he believes the best way to achieve that goal is through diplomacy.
Since April 2021, the United States has engaged in indirect negotiations with Iran with the aim of a mutual return to full implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, the JCPOA. The United States exited the deal under then-President Donald Trump in 2018, and since then Iran’s breakout time to produce enough material for a nuclear weapon, should it choose to do so, has been dramatically reduced from about a year prior to the U.S. exit from the deal to a matter of weeks or less today. In an interview on Al Arabiya, U.S. National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communication John Kirby emphasized that regardless of whether a mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA is ultimately achieved, the United States is fully prepared to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region, which have continued to escalate since the U.S. left the JCPOA in 2018.
“With or without a [nuclear] deal, we’re going to defend our national security interests,” said NSC Coordinator Kirby. “We can do that economically, with sanctions that still stay in place. And we can do that militarily in terms of defending our people and our facilities.”
The United States would prefer not to take such steps, said Mr. Kirby. “Iran has some decisions it has to make. Not just with respect to the [nuclear] deal on the table, but what kind of future they want to see for themselves going forward in the region.”
Mr. Kirby noted that Iran’s leaders “are the ones supporting terrorist networks. They are the ones threatening maritime traffic. They are the ones contributing to destabilization on the political forefront inside the Middle East. And they can make some decisions on their own to stop doing those kinds of things. And they would not face the kind of pressure they’re going to get from the United States and other countries, economically and militarily.”