Iran doesn’t want nuclear deal, says head of MI6

Israel’s Defence Minister says it can use force to prevent Iran from getting an atomic bomb if necessary


The head of MI6 believes the Iranian regime has no interest in cutting a new nuclear deal, but says European leaders and America won’t give up trying.

Richard Moore, a career diplomat who runs the Secret Intelligence Service - more commonly known as MI6 - told the Aspen Security Forum this week: “I think the deal is absolutely on the table.

“And the European powers and the (US) administration here are very clear on that. And I don’t think that the Chinese and Russians, on this issue, would block it. But I don’t think the Iranians want it.”

He continued: “I’m not convinced we’re going to get there… I don’t think the Supreme Leader of Iran wants to cut a deal.”

But, he added, “the Iranians won’t want to end the talks either, so they could run on for a bit.”

In 2015, Iran, the permanent members of the UN Security Council, and Germany and the European Union signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which limited the Islamic republic’s nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief

After President Donald Trump withdrew America from the deal in 2018, Iran began ignoring limitations on its nuclear development and growing its stockpile of highly enriched uranium.

In May of this year, the UN’s nuclear watchdog said Iran had enough uranium to build an atomic bomb.

Negotiations to restart the JCPOA process are ongoing, but have stalled amid growing acrimony.

In early July, the US imposed a further round of sanctions on an international network of companies it said were facilitating Iranian petroleum sales. 

In a statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “The United States has been sincere and steadfast in pursuing a path of meaningful diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA.

“It is Iran that has, to-date, failed to demonstrate a similar commitment to that path. Absent a change in course from Iran, we will continue to use our sanctions authorities to target exports of petroleum, petroleum products, and petrochemical products from Iran.”

Also speaking in Aspen, Israeli defence minister Benny Gantz said Israel was capable of using force to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons if necessary. 

He said: "Should we be able to conduct military operations to prevent it, if needed? The answer is yes.

“Are we building the ability? Yes. Should we use it as a last [resort]? Yes. And I hope that we will get United States support.”

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