The Biden administration is moving forward with steps to join the Iran nuclear deal, with officials determined to participate in high-level discussions with the signatories of the 2015 Joint General Plan of Action (JCPOA) in Vienna this week. next.
The US and Iran are not expected to meet face to face, although administration officials have said they remain open to direct talks.
The Vienna meeting marks the move forward for Biden’s team, which will engage with European, Russian and Chinese counterparts on steps the United States can take to achieve a reciprocal return for both America and Iran.
The meeting is likely to draw intense scrutiny from Capitol Hill, where hundreds of lawmakers have signed a handful of letters to the president and secretary of state. Antony BlinkAntry BlinkenKerry says US hopes it can work with China on climate Blinken lifts sanctions on ICC officials imposed by Trump Biden holds first phone call with Ukrainian president MORE VERY on their concerns about engaging with Iran.
Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Chamber chaired by the Chairman Gregory MeeksGregory Weldon Meeks The Iran Talks created a subtle dance for Biden’s team, the advanced panel of the House to repeal war authorization 2002 The bipartisan House bill would repeal decades-old war authorizations (DN.Y.), Twitter supportfor the meeting.
This is an important step, albeit a preliminary one. Tough diplomacy and smart coordination in close coordination with our European allies and regional partners is the best way to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and re-establishing full compliance with the JCPOA, he said.
President BidenJoe Biden Lawmakers say border crisis settlement’s job Biden Trump calls on Republicans to boycott companies amid controversy over White House vote: GOP has ‘struggled to articulate a reason’ to oppose MORE EXCESS infrastructure plan has made the reunification of the agreement a foreign policy priority for his administration. He appointed Robert Malley as the US Special Envoy for Iran, a key member of the negotiating team that mediated the 2015 agreement.
The deal, negotiated during the Obama administration while Biden was vice president, placed significant, but temporary, restrictions on Iran’s nuclear capabilities in exchange for easing US and international sanctions.
Critics argue that it did not go so far as to prevent Iran from ever acquiring a nuclear weapon and did not address a range of malicious activities by the Islamic Republic, including its ballistic missile programs, support for proxy combat forces throughout the Middle East. , support for terrorism and human rights abuses.
The United States should not once again abandon the influence it is bringing Iran back to the negotiating table without confronting Iran’s nuclear and non-nuclear activities that should be halted, 140 House Republicans write in a letter to President Biden in February , opposing a return to JCPOA.
The former Trump administration reinstated sanctions on Iran when it withdrew from the deal in May 2018 and added a series of other punitive measures as part of a maximum-pressure campaign aimed at forcing Tehran to the negotiating table for a stronger deal.
Tehran continues its nuclear program to be peaceful, but nuclear observers say the Islamic Republic is likely only a few months away from building a bomb. Iran began to increase its uranium enrichment in 2019, breaking the JCPOA terms in retaliation for sanctions imposed by the then Trump administration.
Biden’s team and Iran have been at the forefront of each side’s demands.
The U.S. has been concerned about uranium enrichment by up to 20 percent from Iran, well above the 3.67 percent deal limit. Uranium is considered a weapons scale when enriched to approximately 90 percent.
Biden’s team has called on Iran to return its uranium enrichment before sanctions are eased. Tehran calls this a non-beginner.
The Vienna meeting will seek to establish a roadmap of steps the two sides can take to bring them back into compliance with the agreement, including the identification of lifting sanctions and nuclear enforcement measures, according to a statement issued by the Friday by JCPOA signatories China, France, Germany, Russia, UK and Iran.
State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Jalina Porter told a news conference that the United States would not consider any specific sanctions to be lifted, but that steps to ease sanctions would be discussed during the meeting.
We will talk about the nuclear steps that Iran will have to take in order to return to compliance with the terms of the JCPOA and, we will not look at any specific sanctions in advance, but we will definitely say that the steps to ease the sanctions that the US will have to take in order to get back to that compliance as well, we will be up for discussion, she said.
Naysan Rafati, Iran senior analyst at the International Crisis Group, said both Washington and Tehran are in agreement on returning to the JCPOA, but that the road to mutual agreement will not be easy.
Discussions are likely to face challenges in terms of scope and ranking on both the nuclear and sanctions fronts, as well as skepticism in Washington as well as Tehran, he said.
Democrat and Republican lawmakers have tried to close the gap in their disputes over the JCPOA’s usefulness as part of efforts to promote a united front in their opposition to Iran pursuing alleged nuclear weapons and destabilizing actions in the region.
Last month, 40 senators on both sides of the aisle signed a letter to the president urging that all diplomatic and economic means be used to prevent Iran from developing the capability to acquire a nuclear weapon.
Iran should have no doubt about American policy. Democrats and Republicans may have tactical differences, but we are united in preventing an Iranian nuclear weapon and addressing a wide range of Iranian illegal behavior. We hope to work with you to achieve these goals, writes the senators.
Likewise, a bilateral letter signed by 140 members of the House called for addressing the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran and its other troubling actions.
As Democrats and Republicans across the political spectrum, we are united in preventing an Iranian nuclear weapon and addressing a wide range of Iranian illegal behavior, they wrote.
Lawmakers are also concerned about easing sanctions on Iran without meaningful verification that it has taken steps to put itself back in line with the JCPOA.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken responded positively when questioned by Rep. Brad ShermanBradley (Brad) James ShermanIran talks create delicate dance for Biden Biden’s team could be based on Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq Bilateral resolution backs Iranian public amid Biden push to renegotiate nuclear deal MUM MORE (D-Calif.) During a hearing last month that the U.S. would make no concessions to get a meeting with Iran nor lift sanctions until Iran is in full compliance with the JCPOA, or on a path to negotiated towards full compliance.
Reps. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaul Iran talks set delicate dance for Biden’s Avancon House panel bill to repeal war authorization 2002 Hundreds of migrants were found in three trucks near Mexico’s border with Guatemala MORE VERY (R-Texas) further pushed Blinken to commit to formally consulting with Congress before lifting any sanctions.
“We were determined to consult on the rise, not on the fall across the board, but especially on Iran,” Blinken said.
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