Biden administration ‘in a difficult position’ in effort to rejoin Iran nuclear deal

An Iranian flag flutters in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria on September 9, 2019.
An Iranian flag flutters in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria on September 9, 2019. © Leonhard Foeger, Reuters

US President Joe Biden promised to move quickly to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. But three years after former US president Donald Trump pulled out of the deal, that pledge is proving to be easier said than done.

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Tehran wants all of its demands met before returning to compliance, while the Biden administration is under pressure at home to not give in too easily on sanctions.

"The US now has incredible leverage over Iran," former Trump national security advisor John Bolton told FRANCE 24. "If Biden gives it away, he will virtually guarantee that the sanctions will collapse, and ultimately Iran will get nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles to deliver them both on Europe and on the United States."

The Biden administration argues that withdrawing from the deal and imposing more sanctions only pushed Iran to develop its nuclear programme, but sees a return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as a possible stepping stone for what it calls a stronger deal.

>> US and Iran hail 'constructive' indirect nuclear talks in Vienna

But the administration is "in a difficult position", said Emma Soubrier, a visiting scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute,"having to prove it's not the Trump administration by wanting to return to the nuclear deal with Iran, and also wanting to show that the Biden administration better understands the balance of power and the different interests in the region." 

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