US not ruling out military action against Iran over nuclear dispute
Cairo, Egypt - The US government has not ruled out military action to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday.
Asked if that included a military option, Blinken said would not rule it out. "Everything is on the table," he said during an interview with the Al Arabiya broadcaster as part of his Middle East trip.
But he also said that the preferred path was that of diplomacy. Iran had had the chance to return to the international nuclear agreement but had rejected it, Blinken said.
In the summer of 2022, US President Joe Biden had also not ruled out an attack as a last resort.
For many months, negotiations to revive the 2015 Vienna nuclear agreement between Iran and the West have been at an impasse. According to diplomats, Tehran blocked an agreement shortly before it was concluded.
The brutal repression of recent protests in Iran had also shaken confidence in the negotiations. The EU has also condemned the actions of Iran's security apparatus and imposed tough new sanctions.
After the US pulled out of the nuclear deal with Iran in 2018, Tehran also stopped abiding by the restrictions agreed in the deal and denied IAEA inspectors access.
Iran currently enriches uranium to a purity level of 60%. According to IAEA data, this is not significantly below the 90% needed for nuclear weapons. Iran claims to use its nuclear program only for civilian purposes.
Cover photo: KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / AFP