Biden administration officials are signaling that the US and Iran are close to reaching an agreement to revive the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, The New York Times reported on Monday.
The JCPOA negotiations that have been ongoing in Vienna are currently on pause as diplomats have returned to their capitals for consultations. Envoys on all sides have signaled the talks are entering their final stage and that now “political decisions” need to be made.
Even though the Biden administration has maintained a hardline stance towards Iran, US officials are putting the responsibility to revive the JCPOA on Iranian leadership. A senior State Department official told reporters on Monday that if Iran is willing to make the necessary “decisions” quickly, the US can “see a path to a deal.”
The official wouldn’t detail what the major sticking points are between the US and Iran. An Iranian official said Monday that there are still “significant issues” regarding the removal of sanctions to resolve. Iran is also seeking guarantees that the US won’t withdraw from the deal again.
If President Biden decides to give Iran the necessary sanctions relief to revive the JCPOA, he will come under a significant amount of political pressure. Virtually every Republican and some hawkish Democrats are against the deal. But the State Department official said Biden is willing “to make the political decisions necessary to achieve that goal.”
The US stance on the talks is more positive than it has been, but Biden officials are still warning that time is running out on the negotiations. The US claims that the JCPOA will no longer be a viable deal after a certain point, but there are no real time constraints since Iran can reduce its nuclear activity at any point.