Blinken warns Iran that negotiations cannot last indefinitely

During his visit to Kuwait
US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken

PHOTO/REUTERS  -   US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken

The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said on Thursday in Kuwait with regard to the negotiations with Tehran to reach a nuclear agreement that right now "the ball is in Iran's court", but warned that this "cannot last indefinitely".

"Iran must decide whether it will return to compliance (with the nuclear deal). The ball is in Iran's court. We will see if they are willing to go back. We are committed to diplomacy, but this cannot go on indefinitely," he said during a televised press conference with his Kuwaiti counterpart, Ahmed Nasser al-Sabah.

Blinken was referring to the negotiations underway in Vienna since the beginning of April for the United States to return to the agreement reached in 2015 to set limits on Iran's nuclear programme, which it pulled out of in 2018 during the administration of Donald Trump, and for Iran to comply with it in full.

The US chief diplomat also spoke of his country's commitment to welcome Afghans who helped the US during its two-decade military presence in Afghanistan, especially translators, whom he described as "courageous".

El ministro de Asuntos Exteriores de Irán, Mohammad Javad Zarif (izquierda), se reúne con el director general del Organismo Internacional de Energía Atómica, Rafael Grossi (derecha), en Teherán, Irán, el 21 de febrero de 2021
WANA/MAJID ASGARIPOUR - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) meets with International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi (R) in Tehran, Iran, 21 February 2021.

"We are working to facilitate visas so that they can come to the United States," he said, although he noted that the total number of beneficiaries is still under discussion.

President Joe Biden's administration hopes to relocate about 4,000 Afghans who served as translators and other support functions for troops, along with their families, to US military bases in third countries while they are cleared to go to the US.

Blinken stressed that they are talking to some allied countries, including Kuwait, about the possibility of receiving Afghans who have applied for asylum in the US "temporarily" on their territory "until the procedures are completed" to grant them visas.

El emir de Kuwait Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah y el príncipe heredero, el jeque Mishaal al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah
PHOTO/KUWAIT NEWS AGENCY - Kuwait's Amir Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah and Crown Prince Sheikh Mishaal al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah

The Kuwaiti foreign minister declined to reveal whether his country had agreed to take in some of the Afghans and their families, but said the two countries were in agreement on a number of issues, including the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan following the US withdrawal, the war in Yemen and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The US foreign minister arrived in Kuwait last night from India on his first visit to a Gulf Arab country, where he was received by Amir Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, Crown Prince Mishaal al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah and Prime Minister Sabah al-Jaled al-Hamad al-Sabah, among others.