U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday that “hundreds of sanctions will [likely] remain in place,” even if Iran returns to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“If they are not inconsistent with the JCPOA, they will remain unless and until Iran’s behavior changes,” he said, adding that he doesn’t know “at this stage” whether Tehran is prepared to do what’s necessary to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, but even if it did, the U.S. would “resolutely maintain sanctions … to deal with the multiplicity of Iran’s malign actions in a whole series of areas.”

His remarks followed a warning he issued on Monday that Iran’s nuclear program was “galloping forward.” He said that if Iran’s nuclear-fuel enrichment continues, the breakout time to obtaining a bomb could be reduced to a “matter of weeks.”

In a meeting on Monday, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors said that Tehran hasn’t been forthcoming, ignoring the agency’s questions and failing to provide requested information. As a result, the IAEA said, it couldn’t provide assurances of the “peaceful nature” of Iran’s nuclear program.

In a statement on Tuesday to the Board of Governors, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Louis L. Bono highlighted Iran’s violations of the JCPOA.

“In particular, Iran continues installing and operating numbers and types of centrifuges beyond the JCPOA’s limits, producing quantities and enrichment levels of uranium also beyond the JCPOA’s limits, and producing uranium metal. Since this Board last met, Iran has also exceeded JCPOA constraints by enriching uranium to 60 percent U-235.”

The fifth round of talks on reviving the JCPOA came to a close in Vienna on June 3, with a sixth round due to start on June 10.


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