The Biden administration’s wishful thinking of reeling in more concessions from Iran without committing to lifting the crippling sanctions levied against the Islamic Republic was reflected in a recent statement from White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. Sullivan’s claims that there was ongoing ‘indirect diplomacy’ between Iran and the US were quickly dismissed by an Iranian security source. It was on this basis that a ‘step-by-step’ proposal planned between the US and Iran earlier last week was supposed to result in an agreement to lift the sanctions. However, with Washington’s insistence that a declaration of unfreezing Iran’s assets was to be the outcome rather than the precondition of talks, as well as agreeing to unfreeze only a small amount of funds, it was clear that the US was interested in only demanding more concessions from Iran rather than respecting the Islamic Republic’s most basic demands from the failed agreement. The exchange is perhaps what Sullivan was referring to as the US’s “indirect diplomacy” with Iran. However, it is clear at this point that the US is desperate to maintain a facade of diplomacy to try to buy more time to win concessions and unjustly frame Iran as reneging upon its promises.
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