On Thursday, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the Biden administration has no plans to make any “unilateral gestures” to jump-start talks with Tehran to revive the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.
“We will not offer any unilateral gestures or incentives to induce the Iranians to come to the table,” Price told reporters. “If the Iranians are under the impression that absent any movement on their part to resume full compliance with the JCPOA that we will offer favors or unilateral gestures, well, that’s a misimpression.”
Price was reiterating the administration’s stance that the US will not give Iran relief from crippling economic sanctions before Iran reduces the activity of its civilian nuclear program. Since the US is the party that withdrew from the deal in 2018, Tehran is calling on President Biden to act first. Iranian officials have been clear that they are ready to quickly abide by the limits set by the JCPOA once the US lifts sanctions.
Price also repeated another stance of the administration, that they wish to seek a stricter deal after a revival of the JCPOA. He said if the agreement was restored, it would be a “necessary but insufficient development.”
“Insufficient because we would then seek to lengthen and strengthen the terms of that deal, using it as a platform to negotiate follow-on arrangements to address these other areas of profound concern with Iran’s behavior in the region,” Price said.
Demanding a stricter deal before giving Iran sanctions relief does not send a good signal to Tehran. So far, by demanding talks before sanctions relief, President Biden is pursuing the identical Iran policy of his predecessor, and ordinary Iranians dealing with the economic ramifications of US sanctions continue to suffer.