Iran's foreign ministry spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh at a press briefing. December 27, 2021

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh at a press briefing in December.

Iran Says It Has ‘Plan B’ That US May Not Want To See Put In Motion


Iran's foreign ministry urged the United States on Monday to put its utmost effort into making “plan A work to avoid Iran's Plan B” from going into effect.

"I advise the US Secretary of State [Anthony Blinken] to spare no effort to make [the US] Plan A work, because a Plan B is not attractive to anyone," foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters at a weekly briefing with reporters Monday morning.

"He knows better than anyone that every country has its own Plan B, and ours may not appeal to them," he said when asked about Blinken's warning that the time left for salvaging the 2015 nuclear deal, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is very short.

In an interview with NPR on Thursday, Blinken said the best thing for the US security and the security of its allies and partners in the region is getting back to the JCPOA “in the weeks ahead – not months ahead, weeks ahead.” Blinken warned that Iran is making nuclear advances that will become increasingly hard to reverse "because they’re learning things, they’re doing new things” without the constraints of the 2015 agreement to restrict its nuclear program.

Khatibzadeh’s warning about Iran’s Plan B sounded like a threat, as it is fast accumulating highly enriched uranium and approaching the point where it can have enough fissile material for a bomb.

Khatibzadeh stressed that Iran will not concede on matters important to it to reach a deal. "Had Iran surrendered its redlines, an agreement would result in the first six rounds [of the talks]. We will not forget our main [demands] and our redlines [just] to strike a deal."

The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman also said important disagreements remain, the most important of which is the other sides' slow momentum. On technical issues, considerable progress has been made, but on lifting sanctions we're waiting for political decisions yet to be made by the other side.

Over the weekend, experts continued discussing the four main drafts being worked on, Khatibzadeh said, insisting that many question marks have been lifted.

"Agreements have been made about ideas to a large extent and they are turning into words and sentences. But the issues that remain are key subjects that require certain political decisions, particularly by Washington. They have to announce their decisions about the remaining issues, especially the lifting of sanctions," he said. "Washington must make tough decisions on sanctions-removal and remaining issues. If this happens…we can move faster towards an agreement."

But the European Union envoy Enrique Mora, who is the coordinator of Vienna talks to revive Iran’s nuclear deal, said Sunday that the success of negotiations is still uncertain.

Mora made the remarks in a tweet on following a meeting of the working group on the removal of US sanctions on Tehran.

Referring to a letter by more than 100 US Republican lawmakers to President Joe Biden last week to immediately abandon the nuclear talks, which they called "fruitless" negotiations,” Khatibzadeh said US domestic policy has nothing to do with Iran, insisting that the Biden administration must adhere to the commitments the US made in 2015 nuclear deal.

The US lawmakers in their letter said further delay in withdrawal from the talks would only enable "Iran's malign activities, including their aggressive nuclear pursuit."

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