The Biden administration has said it is willing to sit down for talks with Iran and world powers to discuss a diplomatic way forward on Tehran's atomic programme. This is the first major step aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal that was close to falling apart after the former Trump regime withdrew from it in 2018.
Under the deal, Iran had agreed to greatly limit its nuclear programme through 2025 in addition to allowing teams from the International Atomic Energy Agency into its nuclear facilities.
President Joe Biden and his advisors have said that they will rejoin the deal if Iran returns to compliance with the agreement. “The United States would accept an invitation from the European Union High Representative to attend a meeting of the P5+1 and Iran to discuss a diplomatic way forward on Iran's nuclear programme,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said on Thursday.
P5+1 include the five permanent members of the UN Security Council; China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Along with Germany, who during the Obama administration had entered into an agreement with Iran.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal or the Iran deal, is an agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme reached in Vienna on July 14, 2015, between Iran and the P5+1 together with the European Union.
In a joint statement, the US and the three European co-signers (E3) of the deal expressed their shared fundamental security interest in upholding the nuclear non-proliferation regime and ensuring that Iran can never develop a nuclear weapon.
The United Nations nuclear watchdog said last week that Iran had started producing uranium metal in a new violation of the accord. This then prompted the European powers to warn that Tehran was "undermining the opportunity for renewed diplomacy".
On Monday the head of the UN nuclear watchdog said that the inspections in Iran should not be used as a “bargaining chip” to revive a conflicted nuclear deal. Post a meeting with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Board of Governors, Director General Rafael Grossi said that even though the agency had opened a window to diplomatic relations in Iran, the UN agency should not be put in the middle of long-stalled negotiations between the United States of America and Iran.
On February 15 Iran stated that it would stop implementing “voluntary transparency measures” in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), along with other arrangements in the Islamic Republic’s Safeguards Agreement. But the IAEA chief has said that a “temporary bilateral technical understanding” had been reached during his visit to Iran last month.
On February 22 the IAEA struck a three-month deal with Iran providing it with enough continued access to verify the nuclear activity in the country. This could further open a space for broader political and diplomatic talks between Tehran and the United States.
This article has been written by Kyra Songadwala for The Paradigm.