February 17, 2021
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has intensified contacts with his counterparts in the 15 member states of the Security Council, as part of extensive efforts to restore Iran’s “full compliance” with its obligations under the nuclear agreement.
A Western diplomat told Asharq Al-Awsat that the US administration was racing against time with the approaching Feb. 21 deadline set by Iranian legislation, which allows Tehran to stop its voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This would mean the immediate halt of the inspection of Iranian activities.
The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added that the suspension of the implementation of the additional protocol “does not mean that the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency should leave Iran,” because they would be able to stay under the nuclear deal.
Following talks with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, and German Heiko Maas, regarding Iran, Blinken held separate consultations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chinese FM Wang Yi.
He also made a series of contacts with his counterparts in a number of member states of the Security Council, the last of whom was Irish Simon Coveney.
The western diplomat revealed that the US envoy to Iran Rob Malley discussed a multilateral framework with a number of Russian and Chinese officials, because “there is a strong desire from Russia and China to see a return to the full implementation by all sides” of the JCPOA.
“It is not surprising that Iran continues to demonstrate its willingness to leave the agreement if the United States does not return to it,” the diplomat said, noting that the nuclear threat “is by far the most important.”
“The talk now is about an Iranian regime that destabilizes its neighbors with conventional weapons… If Iran acquires a nuclear weapon, it will be nothing but a nightmare,” he added.