Government

Department Press Briefing – February 10, 2021 – United States Department of State

 

 

2:41 p.m. EST

MR PRICE: Good afternoon.

Just one element at the top today. We condemn the Houthi attack today that damaged a civilian airliner at the Abha International Airport in Saudi Arabia. The attack coincides with U.S. Special Envoy Lenderking’s first trip to the region and his effort to bring a lasting peace to Yemen that will ease the suffering of the Yemeni people. The Houthis, meanwhile, continually demonstrate a desire to prolong the war by attacking Saudi Arabia, including endangering civilians. We remain committed to improving support for our partner Saudi Arabia to defend itself against threats to its territory.

At the same time, the United States will continue its diplomatic outreach and engage with various stakeholders, including our regional partners, humanitarian aid organizations, and the UN special envoy, among others, to bring a negotiated settlement that will end the war. We believe this is the only way forward. There is no military solution to the war in Yemen. We again urge the Houthis to immediately stop these aggressive acts, halt their offensive in Marib, and demonstrate a true commitment to constructively engage in peace negotiations.

With that, happy to start in the normal place or I can —

QUESTION: Yeah, I can see.

MR PRICE: Okay. Sure. Humeyra.

QUESTION: Hi, Ned.

QUESTION: Can I ask about Yemen?

QUESTION: Hi, Ned. So on Myanmar, which has just been announced —

QUESTION: But since we are on Yemen —

MR PRICE: We’ll go to Yemen right after Burma.

QUESTION: Yeah – which has just been announced by the President. He talked about preventing the generals from improperly having access to the $1 billion in Burmese Government funds. Can you give some details about that? What does it cover? What do we exactly mean, like who do we mean when we say Burmese Government funds? And then on that, again, Secretary Blinken has had calls with his Japanese and Singaporean counterparts today. We know that you want to do this with partners and allies. Did you ask them – like, what was discussed with regards to Myanmar? And since those countries are key sources of investments in the country, did you ask them to sort of roll out their own sanctions and join this economic action that you guys are taking?

MR PRICE: Well, when it comes to what the President announced today, let me just walk through several of those elements. As he said, this week he will sign a new executive order, enabling us to immediately sanction those who directed the coup, their business interests, and their close family members. We are imposing strong export controls and we are freezing U.S. assistance that benefits the Burmese Government while, as I have said, maintaining our support for health care, civil society groups, and other areas that benefit the Burmese people directly. Importantly, as protests grow, Burma’s military leaders need to know that violence against those who peacefully assert their democratic rights will not be tolerated. The United States will take note of those who stand with the people of Burma at this moment of crisis.

You asked about what the President alluded to regarding the blocking of funds. The President said the U.S. Government is taking steps to prevent the generals from improperly accessing more than $1 billion in Burmese Government funds held in the United States. It wouldn’t be appropriate for me from the Department of State to go further into that, but what I can say, it is all part and parcel of a strategy to ensure that those responsible for this coup, those responsible for the overthrow of civilian rule and democracy in Burma face substantial costs, that they face substantial pressure. As the President has said, we will be detailing those steps further this week.

QUESTION: Can you give any details about, like, what he means by “improperly” accessing, or how that amount of money came to accumulate in the U.S.?

MR PRICE: I would need to refer you to Department of Treasury for any further details on that. As the President alluded to, however, we will have additional details about our broad policy response to the coup in Burma this week. Anything —

QUESTION: And about Singapore and Japan?

MR PRICE: On Singapore and Japan, this is very much an element of our strategy to engage early, following the coup, and often with our likeminded partners, including those partners in the Indo-Pacific region. There’s also an element when it comes to our policy response. We have in the course of that engagement made sure that our close partners know what we are working on, some of the steps the President alluded to today. We want to make sure that our efforts are both known to them, and to the extent possible, calibrated with them. So again, working with our closest partners, our likeminded partners around the world, we can have the most impact, we can impose the most substantial costs on those who are responsible for this coup, this overthrow of civilian leadership in Burma.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MR PRICE: Follow-up on Burma.

QUESTION: Yeah, yes. Just since many military leaders were already under U.S. sanctions, what kind of effect do you think these new sanctions can have? How confident you are that they can reverse the coup, if you think they can?

MR PRICE: Well, we think that we can certainly impose substantial costs on those who are responsible for this. We can impose substantial costs ourselves. We can impose costs that are even more – that are even steeper, as I said before, by working with our likeminded partners and allies. So we haven’t yet detailed the specifics behind that, but as we do so over the course of this week, it will be very clear to those around the world, but especially to the military – the military elements in Burma who are responsible for this, that the cost for their antidemocratic action will be steep.

Yes.

QUESTION: I just wanted – specifically on Humeyra’s question, though, why isn’t this being rolled out with your likeminded allies and partners at the same time?

MR PRICE: Well, again, she mentioned the Secretary’s call – calls with two of his counterparts. In the course of those calls, we have detailed some of our policy options, what we might be able to present. We have heard from some of our partners what they are working on, what they will be able to present. I think as you hear from us in this week and as you hear more from our partners, it will be very clear that what we are collectively rolling out will impose steep and profound costs on those responsible for this coup.

Yep, Will.

QUESTION: Yes, thanks. Just wondering, does this mean efforts to have a dialogue with people in Burma are over? Because this risks complicating any efforts to get a dialogue to bring power back to the democratic elements of government. And also, does it risk pushing Burma into – further into China’s arms or further into China’s sphere of influence?

MR PRICE: Well, I think first and foremost, we are most concerned with the people of Burma. We stand with the people of Burma and support their right to assemble peacefully, including their right to protest peacefully in support of the democratically elected government, the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information both online and offline. I think to your question, the fact that we continue to see these demonstrations throughout the streets in Burma indicate where the Burmese people are, what their aspirations for democracy are. We will stand with them.

Look, I don’t – I think what we are most concerned with is the restoration of civilian leadership and putting an end to these antidemocratic actions, this coup. So, again, I think we have heard the international community speak out broadly. Of course, there was a UN Security Council statement issued last Friday that included a number of our partners and others with whom we don’t typically have a close relationship speaking out against these actions. So in the first instance, that is our priority – standing with the people of Burma together with our likeminded allies, our likeminded partners, leaving no doubt for the people of Burma as they continue to voice their aspirations for a return to democracy and take to the streets, that we are standing with them, that we are supporting them, but also leaving no doubt with those responsible for this coup where the United States stands as well.

Anything else on Burma? Kylie?

QUESTION: Nothing on Burma. Sorry.

MR PRICE: Okay. Well, then let’s go to Yemen here.

QUESTION: Yeah, thank you. Are you planning to reconsider your decision to remove the Houthis from the list of terrorist organizations after their attack today? And I have two more on Yemen too.

MR PRICE: So I think I would reiterate what I said just a few days ago. The Secretary’s intent to revoke this designation has absolutely nothing to do with the reprehensible conduct of the Houthis. This is a group about which we have no illusions. They are responsible for attacks against civilians, for the kidnapping of American citizens. As I said in the topper as well, we are committed to working with our partner Saudi Arabia to help Saudi Arabia defend its territory against such further attacks.

What our action – what the Secretary’s intent to delist was about, on the other hand, it was about the humanitarian consequences of the last-minute designation from the prior administration. We have heard from the UN, we have heard from humanitarian organizations the world over that this move would accelerate what is already by most accounts the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe. I think, as I have said, we can do two things at once. We can ensure that we are not adding to the already substantial suffering of the Yemeni people, about 80 percent of whom live under Houthi control, while we continue to hold the Houthis to account, while we continue to put pressure on the Houthi leadership.

On that score, I would just note that Ansarallah leaders Abdul Malik al-Houthi, Abd al-Khaliq Badr al-Din al-Houthi, and Abdullah Yahya al Hakim, they remain designated under the UN sanctions regime and are sanctioned under a U.S. authority, Executive Order 13611, related to acts that threaten the peace, security, or stability of Yemen. I think Houthi leaders can expect to continue to find themselves under significant pressure from the United States. We do not intend to let up the pressure on those who are responsible for these attacks, who are responsible for seeking to do harm to American citizens, who are responsible for seeking to do harm to our Saudi partners.

QUESTION: And do you consider the attack a message to the U.S. since Special Envoy Lenderking is visiting Saudi Arabia? And any readout for his meetings with Saudi officials and Mr. Griffith?

MR PRICE: Well, I think what this speaks to is precisely the first element that I believe we laid out when the White House detailed our new approach to the war in Yemen. It is an emphasis on diplomacy. It is a recognition that there is no military solution when it comes to the conflict in Yemen; that only through diplomacy, only through support to the UN-led efforts through Mr. Griffiths could we conceivably bring peace and stability to Yemen.

So as you referenced, special envoy Lenderking is in Saudi Arabia. He is in Riyadh today. He traveled there this week. He has planned meetings with the UN special envoy, Martin Griffiths, as well as with officials of the Republican of Yemen Government and the Saudi government. He was of course just appointed to this post. The President announced it last week. It was one week ago. And within days of that appointment, you see Mr. Lenderking already in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, already engaging in that diplomacy which should leave no doubt about the priority we attach to this going forward.

And I will tell you, I think you will have an opportunity to hear directly from Mr. Lenderking when he returns from his trips. We’re going to try and bring him in here and so he can explain a little bit about our strategy and a little bit about the path going forward.

QUESTION: And last one on Saudi Arabia, the release of Loujain al-Hathloul – do you have any comment on her release?

MR PRICE: Well, we have – we have seen those reports. And certainly her release would be a very welcome development. What I can say is that promoting and advocating for women’s rights and other human rights should never be criminalized. We have watched this case very closely. And certainly as we continue to monitor developments there, her release would be a very welcome development.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Just to follow up on that.

MR PRICE: Yemen still? Yeah.

QUESTION: Yeah, no, Saudi Arabia.

MR PRICE: Or Saudi.

QUESTION: Over the weekend when Secretary Blinken spoke with the Saudi Foreign Minister, is that something that he pressed for the Saudis to do, release her?

MR PRICE: Well, I think what is – I wouldn’t want to go beyond what is in the readout. What I would say, however, is I think something you’ve probably heard me say before is that in every relationship, whether it is one with our closest allies, our closest partners, and with our closest security partners, we will never check our values, we will never check our principles at the door. Human rights, democracy, civil rights, civil liberties, these are – these are elements that we bring to the conversation across the board. And it is something we bring certainly to every relationship. I will also say that as I was walking in here, the Secretary was again speaking to his Saudi counterpart in the aftermath of this attack today, so I suspect we’ll have another readout of that call later today.

QUESTION: And do you think that Saudi Arabia is trying to get on positive footing with the Biden administration by doing this early on in the administration?

MR PRICE: I wouldn’t – I wouldn’t want to attach motives to the conduct of any other government. What I can say is what I said previously: The release in this case would be a very positive development, something we would welcome. It is something we have pressed for, but you would have to ask the other – any other government regarding motives that they may have.

QUESTION: On Yemen.

MR PRICE: Others on Yemen. Okay. Yemen.

QUESTION: Yeah. Just a follow-up on what Michel said. It’s really remarkable that the Houthi attacks have increased since the U.S. decision to revoke their designation as a terrorist group. How do you respond to the concerns of so many that the Houthis may feel emboldened by that decision in order to increase their attacks on Saudi Arabia?

MR PRICE: Well, again I would say that the Houthis – Houthi leadership will find themselves sorely mistaken if they think that this administration is going to let off the pressure – is going to let them off the hook for the reprehensible conduct that they continue to undertake. They will find themselves under significant pressure, and I suspect we may have more to say about that in the coming days.

QUESTION: So on India – Pranshu from the Times here, by the way. Sorry. On India, Twitter has permanently blocked over 500 accounts and moved an unspecified number out of view after the government has accused them of inflammatory remarks against the prime minister. And India’s IT minister reportedly just said freedom of expression is not absolute. So could you comment on this view being taken by the Indian government which has been billed as a partner in democracy by State and the U.S.?

MR PRICE: Well, I think what I would say generally is that around the world – and this goes back to what I was saying before – we are committed to supporting democratic values, including freedom of expression. I think when it comes to Twitter’s policies, we’d have to refer you to Twitter itself.

QUESTION: And then also, could you comment also on a tweet earlier today that State tweeted out saying that – it refers to India’s Jammu and Kashmir? Now, is this a change in policy? Does State does not recognize this as a disputed territory? Is there some sort of change in position that we need to know? There’s been certain criticism of the phrasing today.

MR PRICE: I want to be very clear there has been no change in U.S. policy in the region.

QUESTION: On Saudi Arabia.

MR PRICE: Anything else on – let’s move it around a little bit. Since we’ve talked about Saudi, we can come back to it if we have time.

QUESTION: Turkey.

MR PRICE: Turkey.

QUESTION: A bipartisan group of more than 50 senators wrote a letter to the President asking him to press the Turkish Government to improve, I quote, “its troubling record on human rights and increasingly authoritarian path taken by President Erdogan.” I noted last week when you condemned the anti-LGBTQI rhetoric that you didn’t mention directly Erdogan. Are you concerned about his path? And will you press Turkey directly on this?

MR PRICE: Well, I think what I would say is that Turkey is a longstanding and valued NATO ally. We of course have shared interests with the Turks, and that includes ending the conflict in Syria, countering terrorism, deterring malign influence in the region as well. We seek cooperation on common priorities and, as with any ally, we engage in dialogue to address disagreements. We can uphold our values, as I was saying before, including our commitment to human rights and the rule of law, while also protecting our interests, and at the same time with Turkey, while ensuring that Ankara remains aligned with the transatlantic alliance on critical issues.

QUESTION: On Turkey, actually. So they floated yesterday this idea that they may not make the S-400s operational the entire time. Now, U.S. obviously opposes the purchase of the S-400s, but that was interpreted as a potentially new proposal to this impasse. Does the United States see that as a potential starting point? Or is it a non-starter?

MR PRICE: Our policy vis-a-vis the S-400s has not changed. Russian S-400s are incompatible with NATO equipment. They threaten the security of NATO technology and they’re inconsistent with Turkey’s commitments as a NATO ally. This significant transaction from Russia, as you know, triggered the CAATSA sanctions under U.S. legislation, and we have and we continue to urge Turkey not to retain this system.

QUESTION: But, I mean, are you viewing this as a new proposal? Are you actually taking it into consideration as a new proposal? Are you looking at it?

MR PRICE: What I have said is that our policy when it comes to the S-400 has not changed. We’ve been very clear on that.

QUESTION: And then why hasn’t Secretary Blinken still spoken with his Turkish counterpart? It’s been almost three weeks since the inauguration, two weeks since Secretary has sworn in. A lot of people think that it’s a snub.

MR PRICE: I certainly wouldn’t characterize it that way. What I would say, as I just did, is that Turkey of course is a longstanding ally. We share common interests with our Turkish partners. And I would expect the Secretary and his Turkish counterpart will have an opportunity to chat, to connect in the coming days.

QUESTION: (Off-mic.)

QUESTION: Two questions on Russia.

MR PRICE: Russia. Turkey, anyone?

QUESTION: Turkey.

MR PRICE: Turkey.

QUESTION: Yeah. Don’t you consider the disactivation of S-400 as a solution to open up the dialogue with Turkey? A follow-up on her question.

MR PRICE: I think my answer to Humeyra in this case stands. Our policy has not changed. We have very profound concerns about the S-400 system and the S-400 system in the context of a NATO ally.

QUESTION: Two questions on Russia.

MR PRICE: Anything else on Turkey? Yes.

QUESTION: I have a question about Canada.

MR PRICE: Canada, okay. Well, let’s stick with Canada. I’ll come back to you.

QUESTION: As you know, we’re linked with the Meng Wanzhou case, the woman who was arrested and detained in Vancouver, and two Canadians who were – have been held in China now for two years – two Michaels we call them in Canada. When the Secretary spoke to his counterpart in Beijing on Saturday, did he bring up the two Michaels? What was said? If nothing was said, why not,? And where – is there any movement on the case of these two Canadian Michaels or the Meng Wanzhou case?

MR PRICE: So when it comes to the detention of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, we continue to publicly call on the People’s Republic of China to end arbitrary and unacceptable detentions of Canadian – these Canadian citizens. We reject the PRC’s use of coercion as a political tool. We obviously issued a readout of the Secretary’s discussion with his counterpart, Director Yang. I wouldn’t want to go beyond that readout, but we’ve been very clear, and the last administration was very clear in the context of these cases, and that’s where we stand.

QUESTION: Is there any information on the bilat that’s supposed to happen or the meeting that’s supposed to happen between the President and the prime minister of Canada? Is it going to be a telephone conversation? Is there going to be a lot more people involved?

MR PRICE: I wouldn’t want to speak to any bilateral engagements that the White House would be planning. Of course, the President, the Secretary of State, they have spoken early, of course, to their Canadian counterparts, but I wouldn’t want to preview anything that the White House may be planning.

QUESTION: Two on Russia?

MR PRICE: Russia, sure.

QUESTION: First, do you have any response to the – to another delay in Trevor Reed’s case and the concerns that he may have been exposed to coronavirus? Are you lobbying the Russians to provide him a PCR test or something like that?

MR PRICE: Well, I think this goes back to what we have said about these cases broadly, and we’ve spoken in this room to the case of Trevor Reed, to the case of Paul Whelan. The welfare and safety of our citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of this administration. It was just – I believe it was last week Ambassador Sullivan in Moscow spoke publicly about this case. He condemned Mr. Reed’s conviction, called for his release. Consular officials in Moscow regularly speak with Mr. Reed and his family. In Washington, the Bureau of Consular Affairs and the so called SPEHA, the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens, they conduct regular calls with Mr. Reed’s family.

When it comes to Mr. Reed’s health, his health and welfare are of grave concern. That’s why, in part, we continue to press Russian authorities for his fair and humane treatment, regular contact with consular officials, and of course for his release.

QUESTION: Just a second one. Your account tweeted last night about the case of two young Russian gay men who were taken by Chechen forces back to Chechnya. What is the U.S. considering doing about this, not just this particular incident but the broader issue of LGBT rights in Chechnya?

MR PRICE: Well, I think this goes back one of the earliest – one of the early actions that this president, President Biden, put forward. And very early on, I think it was the 1st of this month, the President put forward a presidential memorandum making clear that the policy of the United States Government is to protect and to promote and defend the rights of LGBTQI people around the world. It is the policy with that presidential memorandum now in force to firmly oppose abuses against the LGBTQI persons, and we urge governments to repeal laws that criminalize individuals on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

We tweeted on that case last night. We spoke out on that case because, of course, we are profoundly concerned. We know of the persecution that the LGBTQI community has faced in Chechnya, and this administration will speak out, speak out forcefully on their behalf both in Chechnya and around the world.

Will.

QUESTION: Yes, on Iran. If I could just ask: We’re reporting that the IAEA has told its members that Iran started producing metallic uranium on February 8th, I believe. That’s the kind of – obviously using nuclear warheads. They’re saying it’s a research usage. Is Iran – what does the U.S. think about that, and does the U.S. still, as we were talking about yesterday, think that Iran is sort of hemmed in by its – the nuclear agreements that it signed, or is this – is this a new breakthrough that you’re concerned about?

MR PRICE: Well, I wouldn’t want to speak to an IAEA report or at least an alleged report that I don’t believe we’ve seen. I would need to refer you to the IAEA for the details of any of their findings.

I think more broadly this is – and everything we have said about Iran’s behavior in recent weeks in months – it’s the steps that it’s taken to further distance itself from the JCPOA. That undergirds our concern, and it undergirds the urgency with we are – with which we are approaching this challenge, and the urgency with which we are approaching our allies and our partners and undergoing – and undertaking these consultations with members of Congress to ensure that we have an approach to Iran that is harmonized and that’s synchronized and that has the best chance of success.

And again, the proposition that has been put on the table for some months now is quite clear. We continue to urge Tehran to resume full compliance with the JCPOA. We continue to do that because that, for us, would open up the pathway for diplomacy. And we certainly hope to be able to pursue that pathway of diplomacy in order to resolve what we do consider to be an urgent challenge.

Yep.

QUESTION: Japan?

MR PRICE: Japan?

QUESTION: Yeah. Ben Marks with NKH. Two questions if I may. Regarding the Tokyo Olympics, last Sunday in an interview President Biden was asked if he was in favor of sending an American team to compete. He said that whether or not it is safe to occur needs to be based on science. The current State Department travel advisory for Japan is “Level 3: Reconsider Travel.” Does the State Department feel it is currently not safe for American athletes to travel to Japan? And second question: NHK and other Japanese media have reported that the Japanese Government is expecting to reach a tentative one-year extension of the Special Measures Agreement possibly next week and then continue negotiating the remaining four years. Can you confirm this, and does the Biden administration believe Japan needs to pay more for U.S. forces?

MR PRICE: Well, when it comes to the Olympics, of course, the Olympics are still some time away, not until this summer. I think broadly, we understand what a difficult decision it must be for – or it was, in this case, for former Prime Minister Abe and the Japanese Government to delay the Tokyo pandemic due – the Tokyo Olympics due to the pandemic.

We are in touch with the U.S. Olympic and the Paralympic Committee and they’re obviously monitoring the situation in Japan closely. They’re briefed regularly on the Tokyo Organization Committee’s preparations. In this case, we’re fortunate that our interests are very much aligned with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. We want Team USA to succeed on the international stage, and of course, the health and safety of this – of our athletes is the priority. Ultimately, though, this will be the decision of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

When it comes to the basing negotiations that you referenced, we don’t have an update for you there.

QUESTION: Does the Biden administration think that Japan needs to pay more for U.S. troops stationed there?

MR PRICE: I understand that these discussions are ongoing. I wouldn’t want to wade into it.

QUESTION: Could I just ask about travel for the Secretary? So obviously, we’ve been discussing that Special Envoy Lenderking is on the road, so there’s clearly not a ban on travel for State Department officials. What will it take for the Secretary to actually go visit counterparts for the first time?

MR PRICE: Well, there is a general disposition not only within the State Department, but of – across the Executive Branch against travel for all but purposes that are deemed essential or exigent. I think the fact that Mr. Lenderking is in Riyadh really underscores the priority and the urgency we are attaching to the diplomacy to bring about peace and stability and an easing of the humanitarian suffering for the people of Yemen. We are continuing to very closely monitor COVID conditions not only in this country but around the world, and including places that – where the Secretary or other department seniors may travel.

When it comes to the Secretary, I wouldn’t expect any imminent travel, but we’re continuing to monitor that, and as we have updates, we’ll be sure to share those.

QUESTION: And has he —

QUESTION: Has the Secretary been vaccinated?

MR PRICE: The Secretary has been vaccinated.

QUESTION: Both doses?

MR PRICE: The Secretary has received both doses.

QUESTION: And will he be the first member of the Biden administration to travel internationally —

MR PRICE: Well —

QUESTION: — when that does happen?

MR PRICE: The first Cabinet —

QUESTION: Yeah, sorry.

MR PRICE: I wouldn’t want to speculate. Clearly, the Secretary of State has a need to travel the world that other Cabinet secretaries perhaps don’t, but I wouldn’t want to jump the gun here. We are very closely monitoring conditions both here in the United States and around the world and making those decisions based on the science.

QUESTION: (Off mike.)

MR PRICE: I’ll go to – sorry, behind you. Go ahead. No, sorry, you. You.

QUESTION: Me?

MR PRICE: Yes, if you have a question. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Oh, thank you. Sorry about that. I actually wanted to go back to Iran if we could.

MR PRICE: Sure.

QUESTION: Regarding that February 21 law, the Iranians certainly have spoken of that as a deadline for the U.S., and the IAEA takes that law seriously as well. I wonder, does the State Department think it’s in U.S. interest to provide some carrot of some sort to dissuade the Iranians from reducing, restricting IAEA access to different nuclear sites and some of the other enrichment things (inaudible) there?

MR PRICE: Well, we certainly heard the statements that have emanated from Tehran. I think what I will say from here is that our disposition will be to avoid the temptation to negotiate in public. We’re not going to, at least at this point, broadcast any measures that may be on the table. Part of the reason why we are undertaking these consultations with our allies, with our partners, with members of Congress is to make sure, again, that we have our ducks in a row, and only once we feel that we have a coordinated approach to what is undeniably an urgent challenge will we – would we engage with the Iranians.

QUESTION: Do you have a plan for what happens on February 22nd if – the last time – we saw last summer there was a controversy over IAEA access to nuclear sites and that was – there was a pretty unusual vote at the IAEA. It was 25-2. Is there any kind of coordination with the E3 about how to deter or punish that kind of restriction if it does go through?

MR PRICE: Well, it was just last Friday where – when Secretary Blinken had his first discussion with the E3 as a group. We issued a readout of that. Of course, Iran was a topic of conversation. I wouldn’t want to go beyond what was in that readout.

I will say that on February 21st or February 22nd, we – the proposition, I suspect, will still be on the table that if Iran resumes full compliance with the JCPOA, that the United States will be prepared to walk that diplomatic path and to re-engage with the JCPOA ourselves. That, again, is the prospects, the proposition that has been on the table for some time now. We have been very clear about that. Right now, we are in the process of taking part in those consultations with partners, allies, members of Congress on the specific path ahead.

We’ll take one question. Anyone who hasn’t asked a question? Kylie.

QUESTION: Last question: Do you recognize, though, that getting to that final proposition may require some interim steps to be taken?

MR PRICE: I recognize that we have put a proposition on the table. We have been very clear about what that proposition is. There – I think the tendency on the part of some actors to take part in public posturing is just not something we want to do. We have been very clear about where we stand. We have been very clear about what we believe is possible with the formulation of compliance for compliance: Iran resumes its full compliance with the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the United States will do the same.

I think when it comes to specifics beyond that, that’s why we’re undertaking these consultations with partners, allies, members of Congress, but our proposition has been very clear and it’s been on the table for some time.

Thank you all very much. We’ll do this again tomorrow.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:15 p.m.)

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