Sullivan: US Engaged in Indirect Diplomacy With Iran

The Biden administration has rejected the idea of giving Iran sanctions relief before talks

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the US is engaged in “indirect diplomacy” with Tehran through Europeans and other parties on the way forward to revive the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.

“Diplomacy with Iran is ongoing, just not in a direct fashion at the moment,” Sullivan told reporters on Friday. “There are communications through the Europeans and through others that enable us to explain to the Iranians what our position is with respect to the compliance for compliance approach and to hear what their position is.”

“Compliance for compliance” is a phrase Biden administration officials are using as their stance on the JCPOA. The issue is, the US is the party that came out of compliance first by reimposing sanctions on Tehran in 2018. After that, Iran waited a year before it began gradually increasing the activity of its civilian nuclear program.

Throughout this process, Iran has tried everything to preserve the JCPOA by working with the other signatories to the deal. And since the US withdrew, Iran is no longer bound by the limits set by the JCPOA, so it is not technically violating the agreement.

The Biden administration has rejected the idea of offering sanctions relief before talks with Iran. “We are waiting at this point to hear further from the Iranians how they would like to proceed,” Sullivan said.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.