Biden's Ready to Talk With Iran About Nuclear Deal

US would be willing to meet with nations that negotiated the treaty
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2021 5:45 PM CST
Biden Wants Talks to Revive, Reshape Iran Nuclear Deal
State Department spokesman Ned Price speaks Tuesday in Washington.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

(Newser) – If invited, the Biden administration said Thursday, the US 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 US goal would be "to discuss a diplomatic way forward on Iran’s nuclear program," said Ned Price, a State Department spokesman. The other nations involved in the original negotiations were China, France, Germany, Russia, and the UK. Former President Trump pulled the US out of the agreement in 2018, arguing that it doesn't do enough to limit Iran's support for terrorist groups or its ballistic missile program. President Biden has said he wants to revive the treaty.

Also Thursday, per the AP, the US, Britain, Germany, and France called on Iran to permit UN nuclear inspections to continue and halt any nuclear work that is not for civilian purposes. Biden's move is a shift in position, but a State Department official said it's not a concession to Iran, per Bloomberg. Keeping Iran under "maximum pressure" for four years during Trump's presidency only pushed the nation closer to having the capability to build a nuclear weapon, the official said. Biden has said he'd remove sanctions imposed by Trump once Iran again complied with the terms of the treaty, though Iran has violated the provisions by enriching uranium at higher levels than allowed. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that once Iran is in compliance, the US would work toward a "longer and stronger" treaty that addressed the shortcomings in the previous one. (Read more Iran nuclear deal stories.)

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