US: JCPOA return not on agenda ‘because the Iranians turned their back on it’

“The Iranians reneged on commitments they had made,” said State Department Spokesperson Ned Price.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price speaks during a news conference in Washington, US, March 10, 2022. (photo credit: MANUEL BALCE CENETA/POOL VIA REUTERS)
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price speaks during a news conference in Washington, US, March 10, 2022.
(photo credit: MANUEL BALCE CENETA/POOL VIA REUTERS)

WASHINGTON - US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said on Monday that a return to compliance with the JCPOA “isn’t on the agenda,” while reassuring that the US and Israel are in “absolute consensus” on the need to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

“It’s not on the agenda for primarily one reason; that’s because the Iranians turned their back on it, the Iranians reneged on commitments they had made,” he said in a press briefing at the State Department.

“The Iranians killed the prospect for a swift return to compliance with the JCPOA.”

State Department Spokesperson Ned Price

“The Iranians killed the prospect for a swift return to compliance with the JCPOA,” he said when asked about President’s Biden tape in which he recently said that the deal is ‘dead.’

“Even if the Iranians did come back tomorrow, we have a track record here, unfortunately, a track record that suggests to us that the Iranian word is – isn’t worth the – choose your metaphor,” he told reporters. “We of course have been down this road with them,” he added. “We of course want to see this resolved peacefully; we want to see this resolved diplomatically.  But we are going to, in the absence of any real interest in diplomacy on the part of the Iranians, continue to keep our focus on supporting the Iranian people, keep our focus on countering Iran’s security assistance to Russia.”

Speaking about the US-Israel coordination in the Iranian issue, Price said that “at the strategic level, there is absolute consensus” between the countries. “There is absolute unanimity with our Israeli partners. We both wholeheartedly, fully are committed to the fact that Iran must never be able to acquire a nuclear weapon,” he said. “That is the commitment President Biden has. That is the same commitment that we’ve heard from Prime Minister Netanyahu. We are in lockstep when it comes to that strategic goal.”

US State Department spokesman Ned Price takes questions from reporters at the State Department in Washington, US, March 31, 2021. (credit: CAROLYN KASTER/POOL VIA REUTERS)US State Department spokesman Ned Price takes questions from reporters at the State Department in Washington, US, March 31, 2021. (credit: CAROLYN KASTER/POOL VIA REUTERS)

Tactical differences between US and Israeli approaches

He went on to say that “there is no secret… that when it comes to how we do that, there may be some tactical differences. We’ve made no secret about that. We have a relationship with Israel that is close enough that it allows us to have candid conversations, and when we disagree, we disagree.”

“We tell them what we think; they certainly don’t shy away from telling us what they think. We believe that diplomacy presents the most viable, durable, sustainable means by which to permanently and verifiably prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” Price continued. “That has always been our focus.”

He clarified that “it has not always been the focus of the Iranians, and, in fact, they have repeatedly turned their backs on a diplomatic deal in the form of what was on the table - a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA. “

“We continue to believe that diplomacy presents the most attractive option, but we also agree with our Israeli partners that we shouldn’t take anything off the table,” Price said. “We haven’t taken anything off the table. And as we meet with our Israeli partners, one of the many issues we discuss is the most – the various means by which we can see to it that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon.”