US says swift return of nuclear deal hinges on Iran action
(Bloomberg) – The United States and Iran could revive their nuclear deal with world powers as early as this month if the government in Tehran proves its willingness to curb its atomic work in return for sanctions relief, according to one American official.
Diplomats will begin a fourth round of indirect nuclear talks in Vienna on Friday, with the parties closing in on a deal that could reinstate the deal reached in 2015 and abandoned by the Trump administration three years later.
A decision to reinstate the deal would arguably be President Joe Biden’s riskiest foreign policy with just over 100 days in office. The deal with Iran separated the United States from some Middle Eastern allies and a deeply divided domestic policy.
Urgency to join deal has increased with Iranian nuclear work “galloping” in the absence of restrictions imposed by Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, senior State Department official told reporters on Thursday , asking not to be identified in exchange for a status discussion. of talks. While there is no certainty that a deal can be reached before next month’s presidential election in Iran, the possibility has grown in recent weeks, he said.
The US comments follow similar statements from EU officials last week. They are calling for the agreement to be reinstated by mid-May, before a key monitoring agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors expires.
The talks aim to choreograph a return of the United States to the historic 2015 agreement abandoned by then-President Donald Trump and the return of Iran’s nuclear program to the limits set by that pact. It is a complex task. Trump has imposed sanctions on the Iranian economy, including its critical oil sales, but also on government and military officials in what was seen as an attempt to make it harder for a future administration to dismantle the sanctions regime. .
Diplomats are working to ensure equivalence of the US and Iranian sides, according to the US official, who has denied the possibility of the White House returning to a deal if Iran does anything less than the initial agreement required .
Negotiations have become more urgent as the clock moves towards May 22, a deadline agreed by Tehran and the IAEA that is at the heart of efforts to ensure Iran does not hide Iran’s enrichment work. uranium. The parties reached a deal in February that allows IAEA cameras at key facilities to record activity. Inspectors will only have access to these recordings if an agreement is reached during the Vienna talks. Otherwise, Iran says it will erase them.
If a deal is struck, the US official expects follow-up talks on ballistic missile proliferation and regional security, as part of the Biden administration’s effort to move beyond the deal. 2015. The official declined to say whether the release of US citizens is a prerequisite for US return to the JCPOA, instead describing it as a priority regardless of what happens with the deal.
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