Secretary Antony J. Blinken at a Press Availability 12/14/2021 (Excerpts)

December 14, 2021

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Related Country: 

  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • France


MR PRICE: Francesco Fontemaggi of AFP.

QUESTION: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I would ask you about Iran. The E3, the Europeans, have said last night that the negotiations in Vienna are basically going nowhere. Do you agree with Liz Truss, as you said on Sunday, that this week, this round of talks is the last chance to save the nuclear deal? And are you prepared to leave the table if there is no progress? And of course, what would be the Plan B, should that happen?

And, if I may, you happen to be in Jakarta at the same time as President Putin’s top security advisor. Since you have put a priority on preventing a crisis and a conflict in Ukraine – with Ukraine and Russia, why have you not taken the opportunity to speak with him while here? Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you. Two things.

First, with regard to Iran, I would refer you to the statement that I saw published by the E3, by the United Kingdom, Germany, and France, and it made a few points. It said very clearly time is running out, that Iran has still not engaged in real negotiations. Unless there is swift progress, the E3 said, the Iran nuclear agreement will become an empty shell. And what we’ve seen so far is Iran losing precious time by advancing totally new positions that are inconsistent with a return to the JCPOA.

We continue in this hour, on this day, to pursue diplomacy because it remains, at this moment, the best option. But we are actively engaging with allies and partners on alternatives.

Second, with regard to – apparently, Mr. Patrushev was here. Yes, I noticed his plane on the runway next to ours when we landed. I can’t – nor would I – speak to why anyone else might be here and what they’re doing.

But I can say that we have a senior State Department official, Assistant Secretary of State Karen Donfried, who is now in Ukraine consulting with our Ukrainian partners. She’ll be going on to Moscow to pursue the conversation that President Biden had with President Putin and to test, in particular whether Russia is serious about actually implementing its commitments under the Minsk agreement, which is the diplomatic way to resolve the crisis in eastern Ukraine, and we’ll see what results from that. Thank you.