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As Hopes for Nuclear Deal Fade, Iran Rebuilds and Risks Grow

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Robert Malley, the State Department’s Iran envoy, said recently that while “it is in Iran’s hands to choose” which path to take, the United States and other allies need to be prepared for whichever choice Tehran makes.

He noted that Mr. Biden and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken “have both said if diplomacy fails, we have other tools — and we will use other tools to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”

But inside the White House, there has been a scramble in recent days to explore whether some kind of interim deal might be possible to freeze Iran’s production of more enriched uranium and its conversion of that fuel to metallic form — a necessary step in fabricating a warhead. In return, the United States might ease a limited number of sanctions. That would not solve the problem. But it might buy time for negotiations, while holding off Israeli threats to bomb Iranian facilities.

Buying time, perhaps lots of it, may prove…

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