According to a report from Politico, the Biden administration is preparing to offer a new proposal to Iran on a way to possibly revive the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.
Citing people “familiar with the matter,” the report said the proposal could be put forward as early as this week. One source said the proposal asks Iran to halt some nuclear activity, such as new advanced centrifuges and the enrichment of uranium at 20 percent, in exchange for some relief from US sanctions, although details are still being worked out.
It’s not clear from the report how much sanctions relief the US would offer. Iran is under an enormous amount of US sanctions. Some are devastating to the country’s economy, and others are more symbolic. So the Biden administration has a lot of options of sanctions it could lift that would not really give Tehran any relief.
Up until this point, the Biden administration has been demanding that Iran return to the limits set by the JCPOA before any sanctions are lifted. In recent weeks, the US has said it is willing to talk with Iran and is trying to portray Tehran as the obstacle to a JCPOA revival, and Western media outlets are happy to go along with this narrative. The reality is, the US can restore the agreement at any time by lifting sanctions.
One reason the US could be trying to get this proposal in soon is the upcoming presidential election in Iran. Iranian officials have said during the transition period, Tehran will not be able to make any significant policy changes, so restoring the JCPOA would be more difficult at this time. But the Politico report said that while Biden officials are aware of the upcoming election, it is not a factor for their approach with Iran.
As for Biden himself, sources told Politico that the president “appears in no rush to restore the original deal.” That seems to be the case since his administration has not made a sincere effort to revive the deal and is a sign that any future offer from the US will likely not be enough to bring Iran to the table.