A few days after Iran said it was ready to ready to return to negotiations to revive the nuclear deal, the Biden administration hit Iran with fresh sanctions.
The Treasury Department said the sanctions targeted two senior members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and two companies the US accuses of exporting drones.
Because the US has already blacklisted the IRGC as a “terrorist” organization, all of its members are already under sanctions, so the new measures will have little impact. But the move is symbolic and sends a signal to Tehran that the US is not serious about giving Iran sanctions relief to revive the JCPOA.
Iranian officials said Tuesday that Tehran plans to return to JCPOA negotiations in Vienna by the end of the month. A date hasn’t been set, but the EU said Friday that Iran and the other powers involved in the talks are working on setting one.
Iran’s decision to return to the talks came after the new government of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi reviewed the progress made in the initial rounds of negotiations that lasted from April to June.
Raisi has good reasons to doubt that the US is serious about reviving the deal since the Biden administration refused to lift all Trump-era sanctions in the earlier talks. This forces Iran to negotiate limited sanctions relief, and the two sides remained far apart on key issues.