Thursday, 25 February, 2021

United States signals it is ready to resume nuclear talks with Iran

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif listens to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during the talks in Moscow Russia Jan. 26 2021 Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attends talks in Moscow Russia Jan. 26 2021
Cecil Davis | 19 February, 2021, 05:50

If invited, the Biden administration said Thursday, the United States would meet with Iran and the other nations that signed the 2015 nuclear treaty about reinstating it. EU High Commissioner Josep Borrell said he'd be willing to set such a meeting up, USA Today reports.

The Trump administration's decision to invoke a provision in the 2015 council resolution allowing the "snapback" of sanctions because Iran was in "significant non-performance" with its obligations under the accord was ignored by the rest of the Security Council and the world. Until now, President Biden, who campaigned on reviving the nuclear pact, has said the USA would rejoin the deal as soon as Iran resumed complying with the terms that restrict its production of nuclear materials.

According to a summary of the conversation provided by Michel's office, he expressed concern over Iran's "departure" from its commitments under the nuclear deal but also stressed "the European Union will continue to deploy efforts to facilitate the full implementation of the JCPOA and the return of the United States of America to the agreement" - an acknowledgment that it was Trump who unilaterally abandoned the accord in 2018 and reimposed economic sanctions on Iran.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian hosted his German and British counterparts in Paris, with America's new top diplomat Antony Blinken joining via videoconference. An article in the hard-line Javan newspaper headlined "Is Biden opportunity or threat" argued that President Joe Biden's differences with the Trump administration were a campaign performance and that even members of the Rouhani administration are learning that "Biden is following Trump's actions". That determination had been vigorously disputed by almost all other United Nations members and had left the USA isolated at the world body.

The Trump administration had imposed the severe restrictions, which essentially confined them to their United Nations mission and the United Nations headquarters building in NY. They warned that Iran's actions could threaten delicate efforts to bring the USA back into the 2015 deal and end sanctions damaging Iran's economy. The accord has been unraveling since Trump pulled the US out of the agreement.

The diplomats pointed to "the unsafe nature of a decision to limit IAEA access", and urged Iran "to consider the consequences of such grave action, particularly at this time of renewed diplomatic opportunity".

"These activities have no credible civil justification", it said, "Uranium metal production is a key step in the development of a nuclear weapon".

West Virginia braces for another winter storm
AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Paul Walker said area residents should prepare before the weather gets worse. As the night goes on, some data sources show that it all transitions to rain by Thursday morning.

Tehran retaliated by stepping up nuclear work in violation of the accord.

"We are the ones who have kept this agreement alive in recent years, and now it's about supporting the United States in taking the road back into the agreement", Maas told reporters in Paris.

Rouhani added, "We are not asking the Americans to do something illegal due to our insistence; what we want is for them to implement an global pact. The more pressure that is exerted, the more politically hard it will be to find a solution", he said. Besides overcoming disagreements over the sequencing of an agreement, the United States also intends to lengthen and strengthen the deal to restrain Iran's ballistic missile program and curb its support for proxy militias across the Middle East. Iran opposed such terms during its negotiations with the Obama administration.

Acting U.S. Ambassador Richard Mills sent a letter to the U.N. Security Council on behalf of President Joe Biden saying the United States "hereby withdraws" three letters from the Trump administration culminating in its September 19 announcement that the United States had re-imposed U.N. sanctions on Tehran.

Tehran has been using its violations of the nuclear deal to increase pressure on the JCPOA's remaining signatories, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China, to provide additional incentives to Iran to offset the crippling American sanctions re-imposed after the U.S. pulled out of the agreement in 2018.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the president of the European Council spoke with Rouhani this week to try to end the diplomatic standoff.