Unnamed US and Western officials speaking to Reuters claim the US is willing to discuss a road map for a complete restoration of the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, with Iran and that the Islamic Republic might be ready to have this conversation.
The report said the Biden administration initially thought Iran wanted to have a conversation about the first steps towards reviving the deal instead of a full restoration of the agreement. But this doesn’t make much sense since Tehran has been calling on the US to lift sanctions, which would prompt Iran to come back into the limits set by the JCPOA.
“What we had heard was that they were interested first in a series of initial steps, and so we were exchanging ideas on a series of initial steps,” a US official told Reuters. “It sounds from what we are hearing publicly now, and through other means, that they may be … not interested in initial steps but in a road map for return to full compliance.”
“If that’s what Iran wants to talk about, we are happy to talk about it,” the official added. It’s not clear how much truth there is to the officials’ claims. The Reuters story is one of many recent media reports that cited unnamed US officials who signaled greater flexibility than what the Biden administration is saying publicly. After rejecting Iran’s early calls to coordinate the actions needed to restore the JCPOA, the US is now claiming Iran is the difficult party.
Three Western diplomats told Reuters that the US and Iran have been communicating indirectly through the European signatories to the JCPOA, the UK, France, and Germany. One diplomat said the Western countries are not in any hurry, despite Iran’s upcoming presidential election. “We are making offers and they are making offers. It’s a slow process, but that’s OK. We’re not in a rush.”
On Tuesday, an Iranian official speaking to Iran’s Press TV responded to media reports that said the US is considering offering Iran some sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran halting nuclear activity, like 20 percent uranium enrichment. The Iranian official said this would only happen if the US lifts all the sanctions that were reimposed since 2018 when the US left the deal.
Regardless of new proposals or what Iran is willing to discuss, if the Biden administration really wanted to restore the JCPOA, all it needs to do is lift sanctions, something Iran’s mission to the UN pointed out on Twitter on Monday.
“No proposal is needed for the US to rejoin the JCPOA,” the mission said. “It only requires a political decision by the US to fully and immediately implement all of its obligations.”