The Biden administration’s efforts to reach a diplomatic settlement with the Islamic Republic appear to have faltered but the United States has been working steadily behind the scenes to come to some sort of agreement with the Iranian government regarding its steady advance towards nuclear bombs.
This week, a report emerged in Axios that Brett McGurk, the Biden administration’s senior Middle East adviser, secretly traveled to Muscat in an attempt to revive the nuclear talks with Tehran.
This comes in sharp contrast to comments coming from senior administration officials.
For example, on Feb. 21, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “We are committed together to the proposition that Iran never acquire a nuclear weapon. That’s not exactly news. The president’s been very clear that every option is on the table to do that.
“And we’re also working to deepen our cooperation and coordination with Israel, as well as with other countries, to deal with the multiplicity of challenges that Iran poses, including advances in its nuclear program. At the same time, we’ve also been clear that the Iran nuclear deal, the so-called JCPOA, is not now on the table,” he continued.
How do the behind-the-scenes talks square with the assurances from Blinken? Is America backing up its diplomatic efforts with a renewed display of force? What has the United States done to support the brave dissidents in Iran? What sorts of new weapons, including highly sophisticated ballistic missiles, does the Iranian regime have in its arsenal?
And, most importantly: Will Israel be left on its own to combat the existential threat of an Iran galloping towards nuclear weapons?
Here to answer these questions and more is Behnam Ben Taleblu.
About the speaker: Behnam Ben Taleblu is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies where he focuses on Iranian security and political issues.
Taleblu previously worked on nonproliferation issues at an arms-control think tank in Washington.
Leveraging his subject matter expertise and native Farsi skills, Taleblu has closely tracked a wide range of Iran-related topics including nuclear non-proliferation, ballistic missiles, sanctions, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the foreign and security policy of the Islamic Republic, and internal Iranian politics.
Frequently called upon to brief journalists, congressional staff and other Washington audiences, Taleblu has also testified before the U.S. Congress and the Canadian Parliament.
His analysis has been quoted by The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Fox News, The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse. Additionally, he has contributed to or co-authored articles for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Fox News, The Hill, War on the Rocks, The National Interest and U.S. News & World Report.
Taleblu has appeared on a variety of broadcast programs, including BBC News, Fox News, CBS Interactive, C-SPAN and Defense News.
Taleblu earned his M.A. in international relations from the University of Chicago, and his B.A. in international affairs and Middle East studies from George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs.