The Biden administration is seeking help from European allies as it tries to get Iran to return to the bargaining table over the 2015 nuclear deal inked by the Obama administration — a deal that the Trump administration abandoned after accusing Iran of failing to limit its own nuclear capabilities.
Some experts believe that Iran never truly complied with the boundaries set in place by the Obama administration, and the Trump administration dropped the deal and reimposed sanctions on the religious dictatorship in 2018.
“This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made,” then-President Donald Trump said of the seven-nation deal at the time. “It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.”
Indeed, Iran said that it would remain bound by the agreement, as did the five other nations involved in the deal-making process, but in the summer of 2019, Iran “broke a key limit set by the nuclear deal for the first time days ago, stockpiling more low-enriched uranium than it is allowed to,” according to The Hill, and then doubled down on its failure to honor the deal’s prohibitions by increasing its “level of enrichment of its uranium” — a move that some believe brought Iran closer to a nuclear weapon.
“Under the 2015 nuclear accord, sometimes referred to by the acronym of its official name, JCPOA, Iran was allowed to keep no more than 300 kilograms of low-enriched uranium. The deal was negotiated by the Obama administration and co-signed by England, Germany, France, China, and Russia,” The Hill reported in 2019. “The international organization that monitors Iran’s compliance with the deal, the International Atomic Energy Agency, confirmed later Monday that Iran had broken the stockpile limit.”
The State Department now wants to resume negotiations with Iran, even though Iran is now much further ahead in its pursuit of nuclear weapons than it was in 2015 — and Iran is not interested in returning to the bargaining table, either to limit its own nuclear ambitions or to limit its influence in the Middle East, something the Biden administration says it wants to be discussed at any nuclear negotiation.
Iran’s envoy to the United Nations, Reuters reports, said on Twitter that Iran has no plans to rejoin any agreement unless the United States drops all economic sanctions, all at once rather than gradually as the Biden administration is offering.
“The US has so far failed to honor @POTUS campaign promise to rejoin the JCPOA. So this opportunity shouldn’t be wasted,” he said. “If US lifts all sanctions, Iran will then cease all remedial measures.”
Iran’s Supreme National Security Council leader was clearer, essentially saying, also on social media, that Iran has no plans to renegotiate its position, even if the United States were to offer an immediate lifting of all sanctions.
“Regardless of whether Europe has the will or ability to persuade #USA to lift all sanctions at once & Washington’s return to its commitments, there will be no possibility for Iran entering talks in the new fields, more than JCPOA, under any circumstances,” he said.
The Biden administration remains undeterred, according to Reuters, and is looking for a “longer and stronger agreement” that would “deal with other issues, including Iran’s long-term nuclear program, its development of ballistic missiles, and its support for proxy forces across the Middle East.”
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