No ‘Gestures’ to Lure Iran to Nuclear Deal Reboot Talks, New US Administration Says
The new US administration of President Joe Biden reiterated on Thursday that it had no intention of making unilateral “gestures or incentives” in order to attract Iran to negotiations on rebooting the 2015 Iranian nuclear program deal.
The 2015 Iranian nuclear agreement considered a landmark achievement of the Obama Administration was hurt in 2018 when then US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from it against the backdrop of great criticism from the five other participating powers – the UK, France, Germany, Russian, and China.
Trump also restored previous US sanctions on Iran leading Tehran as of 2019 to start violating the nuclear deal’s restrictions, which were supposed to make it harder for Iran’s atomic program to be used to produce nuclear weapons. Ever since the Iranian nuclear program began a major international political issue in the early 2000s, Iran’s leadership has been denying attempting to develop nuclear weapons.
The new US statement on the potential revival of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal comes against the backdrop of recent reports about the possibility of holding a new summit with American participation, which could be hosted by the European Union.
“We will not offer any unilateral gestures or incentives to induce the Iranians to come to the table,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters on Thursday, as cited by Reuters.
“If the Iranians are under the impression that, absent any movement on their part to resume full compliance with the [nuclear deal], that we will offer favors or unilateral gestures, well that’s a misimpression,” he elaborated.
Price suggested Washington would consider each side taking steps to resume compliance with the agreement once they are at the negotiating table.
“If and only if Tehran comes to the negotiating table, would we be in a position, would we be prepared, to discuss proposals that would help push both sides back on that path of mutual compliance to the deal,” he said.
“Ultimately, that is where we seek to go: compliance for compliance,” the State Department spokesman emphasized.
Enmity between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran goes back to the Islamic Revolution in Iran back in 1979.
After 2000, it has been exacerbated by the issue of the Iranian nuclear program, which the US and other Western countries have been construing as geared towards the development of nuclear weapons, accusations staunchly denied by Tehran.
The Iranian nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was a compromise arrangement signed in July 2015 by Iran and six foreign powers: US, China, Russia, UK, France, and Germany, with the involvement of the European Union.
It is supposed to ensure that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, and not for the development of nuclear weapons.
The JCPOA agreement was championed by former US President Barack Obama and the Obama Administration as one of its landmark foreign policy achievements.
The Iranian nuclear deal has been mostly opposed by the Republican Party in the US, and by Israel’s long-standing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In November 2020, key Iranian nuclear program scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated outside Tehran, with Iran’s government blaming Israel for the attack.
Even though at first, back in 2017, it acknowledged that Iran had been keeping its end of the deal, the Trump Administration had been adamantly opposed to it in principle.
In May 2018, President Trump withdrew the United States from the JCPOA despite attempts by America’s Western European allies to dissuade him from doing so.
After the withdrawal, the Trump Administration first re-imposed the US sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, and subsequently strengthened them.
The American sanctions have deprived the Iranian government from crucial revenues from the exports of oil and have led to the isolation of Iranian banks, a major recession, and a slump in the value of the Iranian currency, the rial.
In Iran’s domestic politics, America’s withdrawal from the 2015 JCPOA deal and its ensuing slapping of sanctions is believed to have empowered the hardliners and conservative forces.
In January 2020, Trump ordered a US drone strike which killed top-ranking Iranian General Qassem Soleimani from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps at Baghdad’s airport.
Iran already has a stock of low-enriched uranium of 2.4 tonnes, which is far beyond the limit of 202.8 kilograms set in the 2015 deal.
Ivan Dikov, the founder of HeartlandHinterland.com, is the author of the book “Got Nukes, Mr. Dictator? You Hold on to Them!“, among other books.