Blinken: Iran Could Be ‘Weeks’ From Having Material for Nuclear Weapon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
Secretary of State Antony Blinken addresses a welcome ceremony at the State Department, last Wednesday, in Washington. (Carlos Barria/Pool via AP)

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Iran is just months away from amassing enough material to build a nuclear bomb — a time frame that could be reduced to “a matter of weeks” if the Islamic Republic further expands its violations of the nuclear deal with world powers.

The Biden administration would consider new sanctions against North Korea as well as other possible actions against Russia, Blinken said in an interview on Monday as it continued its foreign policy review.

Blinken told NBC News the tools aimed at denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula include additional sanctions in coordination with U.S. allies, as well as diplomatic incentives he did not specify.

Blinken said he was “deeply disturbed by the violent crackdown” on Russian protesters and arrests of people across the country demanding the release of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

“The Russian government makes a big mistake if it believes that this is about us,” he said in the interview. “It’s about them. It’s about the government. It’s about the frustration that the Russian people have with corruption, with autocracy, and I think they need to look inward, not outward.”

In the interview, taped on Sunday, Blinken did not commit to specific sanctions against Moscow. He said he was reviewing a response to the actions against Navalny, as well as Russian election interference in 2020, the Solar Wind Hack and alleged bounties for U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

“The president could not have been clearer in his conversation with President [Vladimir] Putin,” Blinken said of President Joe Biden’s telephone call last week with the Russian leader.