Rob Malley, the US’s special envoy for Iran, stated on Monday that, should diplomacy fail to resurrect the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran, armed action would still be an option.
“As the President has said, if all other means fail, as a last resort, he would keep the military option, very clearly on the table, if that’s what it would take to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons,” Malley said.
Malley, though, reaffirmed the Biden administration’s preference for successful diplomatic efforts and maintained the administration’s ongoing readiness to hold covert negotiations with Iran.
“We make no apology for having tried and still trying to do everything we can to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” he said during a webinar with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington-based think tank.
Malley added: “Again, preference for diplomacy if that can work with tools of pressure, sanctions in particular, but also keeping very much all options on the table in case diplomacy were to fail.”
As for the status of the nuclear deal talks, Malley said there has been “no movement” since early September.
Therefore, he said, the deal is not a focus of the administration right now. “We’re not going to focus on something that is inert when other things are happening,” Malley said, pointing to the anti-government protests in Iran and Tehran’s decision to transfer drones to Russia.
He was eager to point out that the administration was still engaged in diplomatic efforts to strike an agreement with Iran. “But if Iran has taken the position it’s taken, we’re not going to spend time focused on that.”