According to a report from The Associated Press, a senior U.S. official stated that the Biden administration is willing to lift certain sanctions on Iran in exchange for Iran’s return to compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.
According to the official, “… [T]he U.S. through intermediaries has presented Iran with three baskets of sanctions.” These “baskets” are sanctions Biden is prepared to lift, sanctions Biden is not prepared to lift, and sanctions which “will require further study to determine if they are in fact appropriate for relief under the nuclear deal.”
“The official briefed reporters on condition of anonymity because of the confidential nature of the discussions,” The Associated Press added.
Republicans in Congress have responded by aiming to block Biden’s ability to lift sanctions.
“Negotiations are now focused on reaching agreement on a full list of actions each side is prepared to take to comply with the terms of the 2015 agreement,” reported The Washington Post, adding that officials from the United States and Europe had said that progress had been made, without any “substantive” breakthroughs.
Ahead of the ongoing Vienna talks between Iran and participants including the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China, Fox News reported that Iran had already indicated that they would reject any indirect talks or “step-by-step lifting of sanctions,” according to an unnamed source from Iran’s state-run Press TV.
“In line with the unchangeable guideline of Iran’s [Supreme] Leader, any result of the [nuclear accord commission] which would be based on the idea of a step-by-step removal of the sanctions or indirect negotiations with the U.S. will not be acceptable,” the source reportedly said.
It was first reported that “The Biden administration [was] 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,” in early April.
Since then, Iran responded to an apparent attack on their Natanz nuclear facility by Israel by announcing that they would begin enriching uranium to 60% purity, which greatly exceeds its current level of 20%, placing one of the world’s biggest state sponsors of terrorism within reach of the 90% enrichment required for weapons-grade capabilities.
Responding to the attack on the Natanz facility, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated, “The Zionists want to take revenge because of our progress in the way to lift sanctions … We will not fall into their trap … We will not allow this act of sabotage to affect the nuclear talks. … But we will take our revenge against the Zionists.”
Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018. The 2015 agreement was reached after “two years of grueling negotiations.”
In 2018, Iran said that it would remain in the deal, with these promises running counter to their continued production of highly enriched uranium.
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