Representatives of the remaining parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal met on Wednesday to discuss the fate of the agreement, known as the JCPOA. Envoys from China, France, Russia, Germany, the UK, Iran, and a representative from the EU attended the meeting.
The meeting comes at a time of uncertainty. The incoming Biden administration is expected to work with Iran to return to the deal, but on its way out, the Trump administration is sanctioning Iran as much as possible to make it difficult to revive the JCPOA.
At the meeting, the other signatories to the deal urged Iran to come back into compliance. Iran’s representative to the meeting reiterated Tehran’s stance.
“Iran has always expressed its stance transparently and is ready to restart its JCPOA commitments … after the US returns to its commitments and returns conditions to how they were in January 2017,” said Abbas Araghchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister.
After the US unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018 by reimposing sanctions, Iran gave the other signatories one year to offset US sanctions. After they failed to do so, Tehran began gradually violating its commitments. Iranian officials, including President Hassan Rouhani, have made it clear that the violations are easily reversible, and Iran can quickly return to the agreement if the US upholds its end of the deal.
Araghchi also discussed a bill recently passed by Iran’s parliament, a reaction to the death of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was killed in an apparent Israeli plot. The legislation would give signatories to the JCPOA two months to ease sanctions on Iran’s energy sectors and restore access to the international banking system. If the terms are not met, Iran will begin further violating the deal.
“The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is committed and obligated to implement legislation approved by the parliament after they have undergone legal processes,” Araghchi said of the bill. While it has been passed through parliament, it’s not clear if the legislation will become law since the bill is opposed by President Rouhani.