The Biden administration said on Friday it was ready to join talks with Iran and world powers to discuss a return to the 2015 nuclear deal, in a brutal repudiation of the maximum pressure campaign of the former President Donald Trump? which aimed to isolate the Islamic Republic.
The administration also took two steps at the United Nations aimed at restoring the policy to what it was before Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018. The combined actions were immediately criticized by Iranian hawks and are likely to spark the concern of Israel and the Arab Gulf States.
In addition to signaling its willingness to speak with Iran, the administration also quashed Trump’s determination that all UN sanctions against Iran had been reinstated. And, he relaxed strict restrictions on domestic travel for Iranian diplomats assigned to the United Nations.
The State Department announced the measures following talks between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his British, French and German counterparts, and as Biden prepares to participate, albeit virtually, in his first major international events with world leaders.
The announcement came a day before Biden addressed leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized democracies and later that day at Munich’s annual security conference. Either way, Biden is expected to discuss his commitment to multilateral diplomacy and his desire to repair the damage Trump’s positions may have caused over the past four years.
In a statement, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the United States would accept an invitation from the European Union to attend a meeting of the participants – the five permanent members of the Security Council of the United States. ‘UN and Germany, as well as Iran – in the initial nuclear deal.
“The United States would accept an invitation from the High Representative of the European Union to attend a meeting of the P5 + 1 and Iran to discuss a diplomatic path to follow on the Iranian nuclear program,” he said. he declares.
The United States has not attended a meeting of these participants since Trump withdrew from the deal and began to gradually increase sanctions against Iran.
Such an invitation has not yet been issued but is expected shortly, following Blinken’s discussions with the British, French and German foreign ministers.
Meanwhile, at the United Nations, the administration notified the Security Council that it had withdrawn Trump’s invocation in September 2020 of the so-called “snapback” mechanism under which it maintained that all UN sanctions against Iran had been re-imposed. These sanctions included a conventional arms embargo against Iran that was due to expire.
Trump’s determination had been vigorously contested by nearly every other member of the UN and had left the United States isolated in the global forum. Thus, the overthrow is unlikely to have any immediate practical effect other than bringing the United States back to the position of the vast majority of UN members, including some of its closest allies.
Acting US Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Mills sent a letter to the Security Council saying the US “hereby withdraws” three letters from the Trump administration that resulted in the announcement on the 19th. September that the United States had reimposed UN sanctions on Tehran. because of its “significant non-performance” of its obligations.
Trump’s decision had been ignored by the rest of the Security Council and the world, and the overwhelming majority of members of the Council of 15 Nations called the action illegal because the United States was no longer a member of the nuclear deal.
At the same time, officials said the administration had relaxed extremely strict limits on travel by Iranian diplomats accredited to the United Nations. The Trump administration had imposed severe restrictions, which essentially confined them to their UN mission and the UN headquarters building in New York.
The top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Representative Michael McCaul of Texas, was quick to denounce the measures.
“It is concerning that the Biden administration is already making concessions in an apparent attempt to reinstate the flawed deal with Iran,” he said.
“The Trump administration has created leverage for President Biden over Iran, we must not waste this progress.”
Earlier on Thursday, Blinken and his European counterparts had urged Iran to allow continued United Nations nuclear inspections and stop nuclear activities that have no credible civilian use. They warned that Iran’s actions could threaten delicate efforts to bring the United States back into the 2015 deal and end sanctions damaging the Iranian economy.
Iran “is playing with fire,” said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who took part in talks Thursday in Paris with his British and French counterparts. Blinken had joined by videoconference.
Iran has said it will halt part of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s inspections of its nuclear facilities next week if the West does not implement its own commitments under the accord. 2015. The deal has collapsed since Trump pulled the United States out of the deal.
Blinken reiterated that “if Iran returns in strict compliance with its commitments … the United States will do the same,” according to a joint statement after Thursday’s meeting which reflected closer transatlantic positions on Iran since the President Joe Biden has taken office.
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