Iran’s Quds Force chief warns US as hopes for nuclear accord fade

The commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps warned that the United States’ “teeth will be crushed” if it moves against Iran, according to state media.

Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani warned that Iran’s military capabilities had advanced to the point that the US “cannot do what you used to do in the past any longer. … The hit-and-run tactics no longer work,” he said.

The threats come as the latest round of indirect negotiations continues in Vienna over curtailing Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions.

Earlier today, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Iran’s “recent moves, recent rhetoric, don’t give us a lot of cause for optimism.”

“It is not too late for Iran to reverse course and engage meaningfully,” Blinken told reporters at a summit in Stockholm. “In the very near future, the next day or so, we will be in a position to judge whether Iran actually intends now to engage in good faith.”

Iran’s lead negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, said Wednesday evening that his side had presented their proposal for “the removal of unjust sanctions and nuclear issues.”

Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, said on Thursday that the talks were proceeding, but that his government is “not optimistic.”

“We went to Vienna with serious determination, but we are not optimistic about the will and the intention of the United States and the three European parties to the deal,” Amir-Abdollahian reportedly said during a phone conversation with Japan’s top diplomat.

Yesterday, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog warned that Iran was enriching uranium amid the latest round of talks, by using advanced centrifuges at its Ferdow plant in violation of the 2015 agreement, to which Tehran is still a party.

“What Iran can’t do is sustain the status quo of building their nuclear program while dragging their feet on talks. That will not happen,” Blinken said today.

Source: Al-Monitor

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