US Reacts to Iran’s Nuclear Moves and Detainee Situation

US Reacts to Iran’s Nuclear Moves and Detainee Situation

US Reacts to Iran’s Nuclear Moves and Detainee Situation

US Reacts to Iran’s Nuclear Moves and Detainee Situation

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  • Open to Iran’s actions to de-escalate nuclear tensions, unrelated to detainee movements.
  • Possibility of releasing detained US citizens in exchange for unfreezing Iranian funds.
  • Iran’s apparent nuclear slowdown reported by The Wall Street Journal.
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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken responded on Tuesday that he couldn’t confirm a report suggesting Iran had slowed its accumulation of near-weapons-grade enriched uranium. However, he expressed openness to any efforts by Iran to ease its “growing nuclear threat.” Blinken clarified that the recent relocation of US detainees to house arrest in Iran was unrelated to broader US policy toward the country. He stated that the US approach toward Iran encompasses a mix of deterrence, pressure, and diplomatic engagement.

Sources revealed on Thursday that Iran might release five detained US citizens as part of a deal aimed at unfreezing $6 billion of Iranian funds in South Korea. Four of these detainees were moved from prison to house arrest, while a fifth was already under home confinement. The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Iran had notably slowed its pace of accumulating enriched uranium and even diluted some of its stockpile. These actions could potentially reduce tensions with the US and revive broader discussions concerning Iran’s nuclear program.

Blinken highlighted the US’s openness to de-escalation in Iran’s nuclear activities, invoking the context of the United States’ withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 under former President Donald Trump. The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) had been established between Iran and six major powers. Its aim was to constrain Iran’s nuclear pursuits in exchange for relief from sanctions imposed by the US, European Union, and United Nations.

When questioned about the potential correlation between Iran’s nuclear slowdown and the detainee releases, Blinken made a clear distinction, asserting that they were separate matters. He reaffirmed the US’s distinct endeavor to secure the release of wrongfully detained individuals and underlined his focus on achieving a successful resolution.

Notably absent from the recent agreement is Shahab Dalili, a 60-year-old US permanent resident detained in Iran since 2016. Despite repeated pleas from his family, his case was excluded from the deal. Dalili’s situation escalated as he initiated a hunger strike in Iran’s Evin prison, as confirmed by his son. Blinken emphasized that the US State Department determines wrongful detainment, indicating the government’s belief in politically motivated and baseless charges. While unable to discuss individual cases due to privacy, Blinken assured ongoing scrutiny of cases involving American citizens or legal permanent residents imprisoned abroad.

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