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Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. Photo: Enes Kanli/Anadolu Agency/Getty

In his first remarks about the nuclear standoff since assuming office, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian indicated that Iran wants to negotiate with the West, but is in no rush.

Why it matters: Four weeks after the inauguration of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, it remains unclear if and when the Vienna nuclear talks could resume.

“The other side understands that a two- to three-month process will be needed for the new government to be established and then to plan for any decision (on the nuclear issue), but this is one of the issues on the agenda of the Foreign Ministry and the government.”
— Amir-Abdollahian to Iranian state TV

Between the lines: It's unclear when that "two- to three-month" process began — after the election, inauguration or more recently — and thus when talks could resume.

Amir-Abdollahian also rejected Biden's statement during his meeting with Bennett last week that if diplomacy with Iran fails, the U.S. will consider other options.

  • The new Iranian foreign minister said the U.S. must avoid the mistakes and threats of the past and speak politely to Iran.

What to watch: One key decision to be made in Tehran is who will lead the negotiations.

  • During the Hassan Rouhani presidency, the Foreign Ministry handled the indirect talks with the U.S., but several reports in recent weeks have suggested that authority could be passed under Raisi to Iran's Supreme National Security Council.
  • Amir-Abdollahian said the Iranian parliament would expect Iran's new nuclear negotiators to take a tougher line in order to get a better deal for Iran.

Go deeper

Nov 24, 2021 - World

U.S. assurances on Iran met with skepticism in the region

Lloyd Austin addresses the Manama Dialogue. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/AFP via Getty

MANAMA, Bahrain — Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was among top U.S. officials who spoke at the Manama Dialogue last weekend about the U.S. commitment to stand up to Iran, but their words were met with skepticism.

Why it matters: In the public sessions and in private conversations, many of the Arab and Israeli participants discussed the perception that the U.S. is leaving the region and not projecting sufficient power to deter Iran.

Nov 24, 2021 - World

Israeli diplomat: New regional alliances "keep the Iranians up at night"

Photo: Mazen Mahdi AFP via Getty

MANAMA, Bahrain — The diplomat who transitioned Israel's secret relationship with Bahrain into a public one tells Axios that Israel's burgeoning partnerships in the region "keep the Iranians up at night."

What he's saying: "The Iranians opened a front against us in Syria and Lebanon, but now when they look across the Gulf, they see us there with our allies very close to them," says Itay Tagner, the outgoing head of mission at the new Israeli Embassy in Bahrain, who previously led the secret Israeli diplomatic mission in Manama.

1 hour ago - Health

WHO: Not yet known whether Omicron leads to more severe disease

Photo illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Sunday said that it is not yet clear whether the newly discovered Omicron variant is more transmissible than other strains of the COVID-19 virus.

Why it matters: The agency's statement comes as the variant, discovered in South Africa, has already been detected in European and Asian countries.