In Brief: Renewed nuclear deal ‘in sight’ but not certain, claims US

Ayatollah Khamenei. Image Credit: Tasnim News, CC BY 4.0.

The Biden administration said on Monday that a renewed deal to restrict Iran’s nuclear programme was possible, but that any agreement had to be completed urgently as Tehran advances its capabilities.

Negotiations in Vienna, which began last summer, were halted at the end of January, before being renewed this week.

After months of stalling, recent weeks saw progress in seeking to revive the 2015 JCPOA that was intended to prevent Iran from acquiring an atomic bomb, a goal it denies pursuing.
The Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018, opting instead to reimpose tough sanctions.

Iran has likewise shirked its responsibilities under the deal, which dealt only with its nuclear programme and did not cover other activities considered destabilising in the region, such as its ballistic missiles or support for terrorism.

“A deal that addresses all sides’ core concerns is in sight, but if it is not reached in the coming weeks, Iran’s ongoing nuclear advances will make it impossible for us to return to the JCPOA”, a State Department spokesperson said.

German chancellor Olaf Scholz described “the decisive moment” in an interview in Washington on Monday, warning Tehran that “this is the time for decisions and for progress, and not for prolonging the progress”.