US has started talking to Iran about Americans being detained, Biden’s national security adviser says

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U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing February 4, 2021, in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC.

Saul Loeb | TBEN | Getty Images

WASHINGTON – White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday that the United States had started speaking with Iran about the detained Americans.

“We have started communicating with the Iranians on this issue, yes. And we will continue to do so as we move forward,” Sullivan said of the five known US detainees.

“Our strong message to the Iranians will be that we will not accept a long term proposal where they will continue to detain Americans unfairly and illegally,” he told TBEN as part of its “Face the Nation” program. “, adding:” What will be an important priority of this administration is to get these Americans home safely. “

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When asked for an update on the nuclear talks between Washington and Tehran, Sullivan said “the ball is in their court.”

Sullivan said President Joe Biden remains committed to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and believes the best way to do this is through “lucid diplomacy”.

“He is ready to go to the table to talk to the Iranians about how we get strict constraints on their nuclear program. This offer is still valid because we believe diplomacy is the best way to do it. ‘hasn’t responded yet,’ Sullivan said.

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Tensions between Washington and Tehran escalated after former President Donald Trump withdrew from the historic nuclear deal.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pauses while speaking at a press conference in Tehran, Iran, Monday, October 14, 2019.

Bloomberg | Getty Images

The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, negotiated by the Obama administration, lifted sanctions on Iran, which had crippled its economy and roughly halved its oil exports. In return for sanctions relief, Iran has agreed to limits on its nuclear program until the terms expire in 2025.

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The United States and its European allies believe Iran has ambitions to develop a nuclear bomb. Tehran has denied this allegation.

Trump pulled the United States out of the JCPOA in 2018, calling it “the worst deal ever.”

Following Washington’s exit from the landmark nuclear deal, other signatories to the pact – France, Germany, the UK, Russia and China – attempted to keep the deal in place.

Tehran has refused to negotiate as long as US sanctions remain in place.

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