Blinken: 'We don't know if Iran is willing, able to comply with JCPOA'
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaking at the State Department in Washington, earlier this month.
(photo credit: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/REUTERS)
"Even in the event of a return to compliance with the JCPOA, hundreds of sanctions will remain in place,” Blinken told lawmakers
WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Antony Blinken addressed the indirect negotiations between the US and Iran about return to the 2015 nuclear agreement, and said that, “we don't know at this stage whether Iran is willing and able to do what it would need to do to come back into compliance.”
Blinken testified at the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday to discuss the State Department budget request for 2022, after testifying on Monday at the House of Representatives.
“We'll see if that actually materializes,” Blinken said about the possibility of reaching an agreement. He went on to say that, “were that to happen, our responsibility would be to lift sanctions inconsistent with the JCPOA, but to resolutely maintain sanctions that are consistent with it, to deal with the multiplicity of Iran's malign actions in a whole series of areas.
“I would anticipate that even in the event of a return to compliance with the JCPOA, hundreds of sanctions will remain in place, including sanctions imposed by the Trump administration,” Blinken added. “If they are not inconsistent with the JCPOA, they will remain, unless and until Iran's behavior changes.”
Asked whether the administration supports the Abraham Accords to normalize relations between Israel and four Arab and Muslim countries, Blinken said: “We strongly support the Abraham Accords. This is an important initiative, and I think as we see more countries working to normalize relations with Israel, that's a good thing.”
“We're working closely with the countries that have already signed on to the normalization process to try to see what we can do to help advance that, to strengthen it, to support it,” he said. “Second, we're engaged with other countries that might in the future choose to sign on, to encourage them to do the same thing.”
Meanwhile, Victoria Nuland, US undersecretary of state for political affairs, addressed the US-Israel relationship at the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Global Forum. “President [Joe] Biden and Secretary Blinken have both stressed in public that the Palestinians and Israelis each deserve to live safely and securely and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, opportunity, and democracy, and to be treated with dignity,” she said. “In the longer term, a two-state solution remains the very best way to ensure Israel's future as a democratic and Jewish state, while also enabling the Palestinians to live in security and democracy and a viable state of their own.”
She went on to say that “it is deeply concerning to all of us to see antisemitism on the rise in the United States and around the world over the last several years.”
“We must confront these hate crimes and the dangerous lies that undergird them,” she added.
Sudanese Ambassador tot he US Nureldin Satti addressed the Abraham Accords and said that Sudan “is putting an end to the negative legacy of the past regime and opening up opportunities for peace, stability, and mutual understanding based on the principles of equity, interdependence and solidarity of the humankind.
“Sudan has taken the courageous step of signing an MOU that opened the door for Sudan to go in the Abraham Accords and it took a decision to put an end to the embargo imposed on the state of Israel since 1959,” he added. “From a Sudanese perspective, this was done with understanding to advance the cause of peace for all, stability and equal rights in the Middle East.”
Moroccan Ambassador to the US Princess Lalla Joumala Alaoui said at the Global Forum: “I am privileged to represent my country in its strategic partnership with the United States, collaborating across a range of sectors from renewable energy to counter terrorism... and the advancement of the middle East peace based on a two state solution, which benefits all the people of the region and fully safeguard sites holy to all the children of Abraham.”
“In all these areas, and especially when it comes to Morocco's security and the recognition of our sovereignty over historic Moroccan lands in our Southern provinces, our embassy in Washington and I personally look forward to extending the ongoing bonds of friendship and support that we enjoy with the American Jewish community,” she added.