If Joe Biden wins in November, his administration is expected to rejoin the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). A Biden administration engaging in diplomacy with Tehran would undoubtedly face pressure from Republican Iran hawks in Congress, and comments from a leading Democrat on Wednesday suggest the pressure could come from both sides of the aisle.
Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he would support a Biden administration rejoining the nuclear deal if it addressed “shortfalls” of the original JCPOA.
“I’m sure that Vice President Biden, should he become president, will want to deal with the totality of all of those issues, and that to me, suggests a JCPOA-plus,” Menendez said. The senator said a JCPOA-like deal between the US and Iran is necessary but stressed the need for an agreement that further restricts Iran’s military and nuclear capabilities than the Obama-era one.
“Anyone who believes that just going back to the JCPOA, including some of my strongest colleagues who supported the JCPOA, recognize that more has to be done than just the JCPOA,” he said.
Since the US reneged on the JCPOA less than three years after signing the deal, it is unlikely that Iran would be willing to make additional concessions before returning to the original agreement.
In September, Biden penned an op-ed for CNN that laid out his Iran policy, where he calls for a return to the JCPOA. “I will offer Tehran a credible path back to diplomacy. If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations,” Biden wrote.