Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called on President Biden to unconditionally lift sanctions on Iran if the new administration is serious about reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.
Writing in Foreign Affairs, in an article titled, “Iran Wants the Nuclear Deal It Made,” Zarif lays out Tehran’s position.
“The administration should begin by unconditionally removing, with full effect, all sanctions imposed, reimposed, or relabeled since Trump took office,” Zarif wrote. “In turn, Iran would reverse all the remedial measures it has taken in the wake of Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal.”
Zarif makes it clear in the article that Biden will not get any additional concessions out of Iran until sanctions are lifted.
How the Biden administration will approach Iran is not exactly clear yet. Throughout his campaign and the transition period, Biden said he would work with Iran to return to the JCPOA and negotiate a follow-on deal after the fact. However, some of Biden’s new cabinet members said during Tuesday’s confirmation hearings that “we are a long way” from returning to the JCPOA.
Reporters asked White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday night if President Biden planned to return to the JCPOA. “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,” she said.
“Iran must resume compliance with significant nuclear constraints under the deal in order for that to proceed,” Psaki added.
Judging by Psaki’s comments, it’s still not clear what Biden’s move is on Iran. With opposition to the JCPOA from Republicans in Congress, some Democrats in the Senate, and regional allies like Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, it will take a strong move from Biden to quickly lift sanctions on Iran to revive the deal.