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Return to Iran nuclear deal compliance 'possible' in coming weeks, says US official

'This is ultimately a matter of a political decision that needs to be made in Iran,' senior State Dept. official says

Michael Hernandez   | 06.05.2021
Return to Iran nuclear deal compliance 'possible' in coming weeks, says US official

WASHINGTON

It is "possible" that Iran and the US return to mutual compliance under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a senior State Department official said Thursday.

The official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity, cautioned, however, that "only time will tell" if it is likely to happen.

"This is ultimately a matter of a political decision that needs to be made in Iran," the official said ahead of talks in Vienna that are expected to resume Friday.

"The United States understands what it needs to do to come back into compliance with the sanctions relief commitments that it made under the JCPOA, we understand what it will take. We also understand what Iran needs to do in order to come back into compliance," he added.

Indirect negotiations between Tehran and Washington to return to the pact have been ongoing in the Austrian capital since early April.

Former US President Donald Trump unilaterally left the agreement in 2018 and reimposed sweeping US sanctions it agreed to lift under the deal and imposed new ones in the hopes that the penalties would bring Iran back to negotiations for what Trump hoped would be a "better" deal.

Iran resisted the ex-president's efforts and instead stepped away from the nuclear restrictions it agreed to under the accord as regional tensions between the US and the Islamic Republic soared.

The official said US President Joe Biden has directed his administration to re-engage in the deal “because we have tested the alternative,” referring to the Trump administration's "Maximum Pressure" campaign.

"The test of the last three years has shown that it is precisely the opposite: that without the JCPOA, that by reimposing all the sanctions and imposing new ones, Iran's nuclear program is now galloping forward, and its regional behavior has become more aggressive,” said the official.

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