Lapid, Blinken discuss Iran as US reports ‘modest progress’ in Vienna talks

“Iran’s accelerating nuclear steps will increasingly diminish the nonproliferation benefits of the JCPOA,” says State Department spokesman.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

Israel’s Foreign Minister spoke on Wednesday evening with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken about “regional and global challenges, and the importance of putting pressure on Iran to stop its race to a nuclear weapon.”

According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Blinken “reiterated the US administration’s commitment to Israel’s security.”

This conversation, the latest of several in recent weeks, comes as the eighth round of talks between Iran and European countries on the relaunching of the nuclear deal is currently underway in Vienna.

US State Department Ned Price stated Tuesday that “what we can say at this point is that there was some modest progress in the talks last week. We hope to build on that this week.”

“What is clear is that if we do not soon reach an understanding on a mutual return to compliance, Iran’s accelerating nuclear steps will increasingly diminish the nonproliferation benefits of the JCPOA,” he cautioned.

“We have made the point repeatedly that it remains in our national interest to achieve a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA, because at this moment, on this day, the nonproliferation benefits that the JCPOA entails are the best outcome when it comes to what’s in our national interest,” he said.

However, “that will not be true for long, as Iran continues with nuclear steps that only diminish the utility of the guarantees that the 2015 deal would bring back into effect. That’s why our priority remains reaching and implementing a rapid mutual return to full compliance with the JCPOA,” he underscored.

Lapid stated on Monday that Israel is “not against any agreement. A good deal is a good thing. There is an intense discussion of what a good deal entails. The world, including the involved parties, is listening” to Israel.

However, he conceded that the Vienna talks “will not reach an optimal result as far as we are concerned, but we are always working with the people involved to improve the result for Israel.”

These discussions, possibly like the one he had with Blinken, bring “a lot of small achievements, not a big one.”