The Biden administration has reviewed military options that could be part of an effort to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, if a multilateral deal between the United States, Iran and other nations on Tehran’s nuclear program is not salvaged, according to administration officials.
In October, at the direction of President Joe Biden, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan received a briefing by Pentagon leaders on a full set of military options available to ensure that Iran would not be able to produce a nuclear weapon, administration officials said.
The briefing – first reported by the New York Times – occurred before the sixth round of Vienna talks took place. But that round of talks, aimed at salvaging the Iran nuclear deal, did not produce any forward movement.
The Biden administration still believes a diplomatic path to avoiding a nuclear crisis is the best option, top officials have said. But, as CNN has reported, officials have grown increasingly pessimistic about the possibility of salvaging the Iran nuclear deal and have warned of turning to ‘other options’ if diplomacy fails.
“Based on the outcome of the last round of talks and the ongoing advancements in Iran’s nuclear facilities, we are laying the path for – the groundwork for another path entirely,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday.
The seventh round of nuclear talks begins in Vienna this weekend. And as negotiations resumed, the administration also confirmed it will dispatch an interagency delegation to the United Arab Emirates as it seeks to tighten enforcement of sanctions against Iran.
“If diplomacy cannot get on track soon, and if Iran’s nuclear program continues to accelerate, then we will have no choice but to take additional measures to further restrict Iran’s revenue-producing sectors,” Psaki said.