The United States has promised not to negotiate with terrorists, and that appears to come to an end when the current administration approached Iran to initiate the discussions.
Following the closed meetings of the signatories to the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Russia’s delegate, Mikhail Ulyanov, tweeted that the first talks were “successful.”
“The restoration of JCPOA will not happen immediately. It will take some time. How long? Nobody knows,” he wrote. “The most important thing after today’s meeting of the Joint Commission is that practical work towards achieving this goal has started.”
In 2018, then-President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. unilaterally out of the agreement, opting for what he called a maximum-pressure campaign involving repaired and additional American sanctions.
After that, Iran has been regularly violating restrictions in the deal, like the amount of enriched uranium that it can stockpile and the purity to which it can be enriched. Tehran’s moves have been estimated to pressure the other nations in the deal to do more to counteract crippling U.S. sanctions placed under Trump.
U.S. President Joe Biden, who was vice president under Barack Obama when the original deal was settled, has said he wants to bring the United States back into the JCPOA but that Iran must cancel its violations.
Iran claims that the United States violated the deal first with its removal, so Washington has to take the first step by raising sanctions.
Following the conference in Vienna, Iranian state television cited Iran’s negotiator, Abbas Araghchi, as repeating that message during the first round of talks.
“Lifting U.S. sanctions is the first and the most necessary action for reviving the deal,” Araghchi was quoted as saying. “Iran is fully ready to reverse its activities and return to complete implementation of the deal immediately after it is verified sanctions are lifted.”
At the meeting, participants accepted to install two expert-level groups, one on the lifting of sanctions and one on nuclear issues, which were “tasked to identify concrete measures to be taken by Washington and Tehran to restore full implementation of JCPOA,” Ulyanov tweeted.
They are to start work immediately, and report their conclusions to the main negotiators.
The final purpose of the deal is to block Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, something it maintains it doesn’t want to do. Iran now has adequate enriched uranium to make a bomb, but nowhere near the amount it had before the nuclear deal was signed.