Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

The Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency headquarters in Vienna on May 23.

Leonhard Foeger/Reuters

U.S., Israeli and EU officials took a tough line toward Iran on Wednesday, with U.S. officials saying they would consider all options if Tehran failed to revive the 2015 nuclear deal and Israel saying it reserved the right to act.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has so far refused to resume indirect talks with the United States in Vienna on both sides returning to compliance with the deal, under which Iran curbed its nuclear program in return for economic sanctions relief.

“We will look at every option to deal with the challenge posed by Iran,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a joint news conference with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed.

Story continues below advertisement

“If the Iranians don’t believe the world is serious about stopping them, they will race to the bomb. Israel reserves the right to act at any given moment in any given way,” Lapid said. Israel has previously bombed nuclear sites in Iraq and Syria.

U.S. officials stressed it was still Washington’s preference for the United States, which abandoned the nuclear deal in 2018 during the Trump administration, and Iran, which began violating its nuclear limits about a year later, to resume compliance.

Iran struck the deal in 2015 with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States. The last round of Vienna talks took place in June. Iran, beyond saying they would resume “soon,” has not set a new date.

Iran has long denied any ambition to acquire nuclear weapons.

A Western diplomat said on Wednesday he thought the earliest talks might happen was in late October, if then.

EU TO VISIT TEHRAN

The European Union co-ordinator on Iran, Enrique Mora, plans to visit Tehran on Thursday, a trip diplomats from Britain, France and Germany, a group known as the E3, said came at a critical time as Iran keeps advancing its nuclear program.

“The nuclear situation has worsened continuously and seriously,” said one E3 diplomat, alluding to Iran’s accelerating enrichment of uranium to higher fissile purity, a possible pathway to a nuclear bomb.

Story continues below advertisement

“This therefore is from our E3 point of view not a ‘business as usual’ but a visit in (the) context of a deep crisis in the JCPOA,” the diplomat added.

While officials have made similar past statements, taken together the comments suggested a more coercive rhetorical stance toward Tehran if it refused to resume compliance with the deal called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Earlier, the U.S. special envoy for Iran, Rob Malley, said Washington was ready to consider “all options” if Iran is unwilling to return to the 2015 deal, which was negotiated under then-President Barack Obama and then-Vice President Joe Biden, who is now the U.S. president.

The phrase “all options,” is typically intended to include the possibility – however remote – of military action.

Some analysts, however, read the comments less as a tougher stance on Iran and more as a reflection of the uncertainty about whether the Raisi government will return to talks and, even if it does, whether it will agree to revive the deal.

The State Department said Malley would travel to the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia from Oct. 15-21 to co-ordinate with Gulf allies.

Story continues below advertisement

“We will be prepared to adjust to a different reality in which we have to deal with all options to address Iran’s nuclear program if it’s not prepared to come back into the constraints,” Malley said in a virtual appearance at a Washington think tank.

“There is every possibility that Iran will choose a different path, and we need to co-ordinate with Israel and other partners in the region,” he added.

“I will be travelling to Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar in just a matter of days to talk about efforts to come back to (JCPOA) and what options we have to control Iran’s nuclear program if we can’t achieve that goal.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that 'time is running short' for Iran to return to compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal and that Washington would look at every option to deal with the challenge posed by Tehran. Reuters

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies