White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked by reporters on Wednesday night what President Biden’s plans are concerning Iran and if he plans to rejoin the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.
“Well, the president has made clear that through follow-on diplomacy, the United States should seek to lengthen and strengthen nuclear constraints on Iran and address other issues of concern,” Psaki said. “Iran must resume compliance with significant nuclear constraints under the deal in order for that to proceed.”
Psaki’s comments line up with what Biden said on the campaign trail and in interviews after the election. His stated goal is to work with Iran to return to the JCPOA and negotiate a stricter follow-on agreement on top of it.
Also on Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran is willing to return to its commitments under the JCPOA if the US lifts sanctions. Rouhani’s comments came after Iran increased uranium enrichment to 20 percent, a reaction to the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the Iranian scientist that was killed in an apparent Israeli plot.
Psaki also said Iran will be a topic of discussion in talks between Biden and foreign partners of the US. “We would certainly anticipate that this would be part of the discussion,” she said.
One of those partners is likely to be Israel, and Israeli officials are not shy about their opposition to the JCPOA. Arab allies in the region, like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, are also opposed to the deal and hope to be consulted by the Biden administration on Iran.
As it stands, Biden’s terms might be acceptable to Iran if he doesn’t demand additional concessions before lifting sanctions. Although two of Biden’s cabinet members said during Tuesday’s Senate confirmation hearings that they are a “long way” from returning to the JCPOA.