Washington: US President Joe Biden wants to ensure that the United States has “other available options” to ensure that Iran does not achieve nuclear weapons capability, if efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal fail, a White House spokesperson said.
National security spokesman John Kirby said Washington would remain active in pushing for reimplementation of the agreement, but its patience was “not eternal.”
“Even as he has fostered and encouraged and pushed for a diplomatic path, [Biden] has conveyed to the rest of the administration that he wants to make sure that we have other available options to us to potentially achieve that solid outcome of the no nuclear weapons capability for Iran,” he said.
Earlier, Iran dismissed as “baseless” a report from the UN nuclear watchdog that it was unable to certify the Iranian nuclear programme as “exclusively peaceful”.
The finding by the International Atomic Energy Agency Wednesday complicated diplomatic efforts to revive a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers, including the United States.
Last month, all sides voiced hope a deal was within reach, but Iran is still insisting that the IAEA close the investigation into its past nuclear activities as part of any deal and diplomats have said they are now less confident of a renewed agreement.
“The recent report... is a rehash for political purposes of baseless issues from the past,” Iran Atomic Energy Organisation spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said in a statement.
“Iran will present its well-founded legal responses” to the findings at the IAEA’s next board of governors meeting in Vienna from September 12 to 16, he added.
In its report, the IAEA said it was “not in a position to provide assurance that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively peaceful”.
It said IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi was “increasingly concerned that Iran has not engaged with the agency on the outstanding safeguards issues during this reporting period and, therefore, that there has been no progress towards resolving them”.
The IAEA has been pressing Iran for answers on the presence of nuclear material at three undeclared sites and the issue led to a resolution that criticised Iran being passed at the June meeting of the IAEA’s board of governors.
Tehran, which maintains that its nuclear programme is exclusively peaceful, this week again insisted that the IAEA probe would have to be concluded in order to revive the 2015 deal on its nuclear programme with world powers.