Iran Remains Hopeful for Nuclear Deal After IAEA Rebuke

US says Iran must forgo all non-nuclear issues

Last week’s IAEA rebuke against Iran, and subsequent Iranian measures, have some IAEA figures warning it could be a “fatal blow” to the nuclear deal.

Iran, however, says they remain hopeful for a nuclear deal, even after the “unconstructive” moves of last week. Iran Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that the Iran still believes diplomacy is the best way to reach an agreement.

To that end, Iran reported that the US accepted a proposal just before the IAEA meeting last week, suggesting that the behind-the-scenes talks are carrying on independent of the public show of the IAEA Board of Governors meeting.

US State Department officials continue to sound pessimistic about the deal. Spokesman Ned Price says Iran would need to be willing to “forgo non-nuclear issues and return to compliance” with the 2015 deal, suggesting that the US would be prepared to do the same.

That’s more complicated than it sounds, as Iran is willing to return to compliance with 2015 as part of a deal, but the US has been very evasive about what sanctions they’d ease, and has broadly re-defined its sanctions schedule as at least partly “non-nuclear.”

The US sanctions regiment on Iran, growing as it has for decades, is so complicated, and justified in so many different ways, that unraveling it all looks like it will be more work than the rest of the deal. The US spin that non-nuclear sanctions won’t be lifted looks like a way to avoid that, and just allow them to lift whatever paltry sanctions they feel like.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.