Biden Admin Takes 1st Step Toward Rejoining Iran Nuclear Deal, Undoes Tough Trump Policies


The Biden administration said Thursday it’s prepared to join talks with Iran and world powers to discuss a return to the 2015 nuclear deal.

It’s also undone the Trump administration’s effort to restore all U.N. sanctions against Iran.

The State Department said the U.S. would accept an invitation from the European Union to attend a meeting of the participants in the original agreement.

The U.S. has not participated in such a meeting since former President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018.

“The United States would accept an invitation from the European Union High Representative to attend a meeting of the P5+1 and Iran to discuss a diplomatic way forward on Iran’s nuclear program,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

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Such an invitation has not yet been issued but one is expected shortly, following discussions earlier Thursday between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his British, French and German counterparts.

Meanwhile, at the United Nations, the administration notified the Security Council that it had withdrawn Trump’s September 2020 invocation of the so-called “snapback” mechanism under which it sought to reimpose U.N. sanctions against Iran.

In another move, officials said the administration has lifted strict limits on the domestic travel of Iranian diplomats posted to the United Nations. The Trump administration had imposed restrictions essentially confining them to their U.N. mission and the U.N. headquarters building in New York.

Earlier Thursday, Blinken and the foreign ministers of Britain, Germany and France urged Iran to allow continued U.N. nuclear inspections and stop nuclear activities that have no credible civilian use.

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They warned that Iran’s actions could threaten efforts to bring the U.S. back into the 2015 deal and end sanctions.

Iran is “playing with fire,” according to German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who took part in the talks in Paris with his British and French counterparts. Blinken had joined via videoconference.

Iran has said it will stop international inspections of its nuclear facilities next week if the West doesn’t implement its own commitments under the 2015 deal.

Blinken reiterated that “if Iran comes back into strict compliance with its commitments … the United States will do the same,” according to a joint statement issued after Thursday’s meeting.

The diplomats said Iran’s decision to produce uranium enriched up to 20 percent and uranium metal has “no credible” civilian use.

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“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.

“The measures that have been taken in Tehran and may be taken in the coming days are anything but helpful. They endanger the Americans’ path back into this agreement. The more pressure that is exerted, the more politically difficult it will be to find a solution,” he said.

Iran’s threats are “very worrying,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

The diplomats also expressed concern about human rights violations in Iran and its ballistic missile program.

In Iran, President Hassan Rouhani expressed hope on Thursday that the Biden administration would rejoin the accord and lift the U.S. sanctions imposed under Trump, according to state television.

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

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency is scheduled to travel to Iran this weekend to find a solution that allows the agency to continue inspections.

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