White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday the United States had begun to communicate with Iran over the country's detention of American citizens, calling the matter a "complete and utter outrage".
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday the U.S. had begun to communicate with Iran over the country’s detention of American citizens.
Iran has arrested dozens of dual nationals, including several Americans, in recent years, mostly on espionage charges, which Sullivan calls a “complete and utter outrage.” Sullivan addressed the matter on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
“Our strong message to the Iranians will be that we will not accept a long-term proposition where they continue to hold Americans in an unjust and unlawful manner.
It will be a significant priority of this administration to get those Americans safely back home.” Following Sullivan’s remarks, an Iranian news website affiliated with the country's Supreme National Security Council cited a source saying that any communication between Tehran and Washington about the issue had been conducted via the Swiss embassy rather than through any direct contact.
This comes a week after the U.S. said it was ready to talk to Iran about both nations returning to the 2015 nuclear accord later abandoned by the Trump administration.
The deal aimed to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons while lifting most international sanctions.
The two countries have been at odds over who should take the first step to revive the deal: Iran demanding that the U.S. lift most sanctions, Washington saying Tehran must first return to compliance.
Sullivan said the U.S. is intent on diplomacy.
“First, Joe Biden is intent, determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
Second, he believes that hard-headed, clear eyed diplomacy is the best way to do that.
And so he's prepared to go to the table to talk to the Iranians about how we get strict constraints back on their nuclear program.
That offer still stands because we believe diplomacy is the best way to do it.