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Foreign Affairs

Biden adviser insists any talks with Iran should include missiles

Jake Sullivan, US President-elect Joe Biden's incoming national security adviser, says Iran's ballistic missile program should be included in any possible negotiations with the country - an issue categorically rejected by Tehran.

"President Biden has said that if Iran comes back into compliance with its terms under the nuclear deal … so that its program is back in a box then we would come back in, but that would become the basis for this follow-on negotiation," Sullivan told CNN.

He noted that talks around the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile program would be part of the negotiations after Washington's return into the nuclear agreement, which outgoing President Donald Trump quit in 2018.

"Our view is that ballistic missiles, and Iran's ballistic missiles has to be on the table as part of that follow-on negotiation."

Sullivan also claimed that the talks can “go beyond just the permanent five members of the Security council" and that "involve regional players as well. And that in that broader negotiation, we can ultimately secure limits on Iran's ballistic missile technology."

His remarks come while Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stressed last week that the issue of Tehran's ballistic missile program is "non-negotiable", noting that Biden is "well aware of it".

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has also ruled out involving regional states in the nuclear negotiations after his Saudi counterpart made the suggestion last month.

In his remarks, Sullivan said the US assassination of Iran’s top anti-terror commander General Qasem Soleimani has not contributed to US interests in the Middle East.

General Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, was assassinated along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), and a group of their companions in a drone attack near Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020.

Iran retaliated five days after the attack by firing dozens of missiles at two US bases in Iraq, declaring that it was part of its pledged “tough revenge” and that the full revenge would be the ultimate expulsion of all American forces from the region.

Trump, a hawkish critic of the groundbreaking 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, France, Britain, China and Russia – plus Germany, unilaterally withdrew Washington from the agreement in May 2018.

Washington then reinstated the sanctions that the JCPOA had lifted, and also pressured others into committing to the bans and stopping their trade with Tehran.

Source: Press TV


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