Negotiations between Iran and world powers on how to reactivate the 2015 nuclear deal will resume next weekend, U.S. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman said Wednesday.
Biden administration officials were hoping to conclude a deal with Iran ahead of the June 18 Iranian presidential election, which could complicate talks, Sherman said.
“I know the negotiation will start again over the next weekend,” Sherman said during a virtual event hosted by the German Marshall Fund.
“I think there have been some much progress done, but from my own experience until the last detail is closed, and I mean, we won’t know if we have a deal, ”said Sherman, who was part of the Obama administration team that negotiated the original agreement with Iran.
Conversations seek to revive the emblematic pact under which Iran agreed to halt its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions and which had paved the way for a brief thaw in decades of US-Iran confrontation.
A number of barriers to the reactivation of the Iranian nuclear deal remain firm ahead of talks, suggesting that return to compliance with the 2015 agreement is still a long way off, four diplomats told Reuters news service. , two Iranian officials and two analysts.
“This is complicated, of course, by the Iranian presidential election, which is taking place in a few days,” Sherman added.
President Hassan Rouhani, a pragmatist who promoted the original agreement, is expected to be followed by a hardline successor.
Among six candidates dominated by conservatives and strong, the first Iranian judge Ibrahim Raisi is considered the leader in the next election, Al Jazeera has reported.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump dropped the deal in 2018 claiming it would allow Tehran an eventual path to becoming a nuclear power.
Trump re-imposed U.S. sanctions and launched a “maximum pressure” campaign. Iran responded by violating the limits of the agreement and reinvesting in its uranium enrichment capabilities.
Biden has sought to restore the agreement’s nuclear boundaries and, if possible, expand them to cover issues such as Iran’s regional behavior and the missile program.
Iran wants all sanctions lifted and conditions not extended.
Speaking before a U.S. Senate committee on June 8, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. is very unlikely to remove all of its sanctions from Iran.
If Iran returned to the 2015 agreement that prevents it from developing nuclear weapons, the US would lift the sanctions related to the Iranian nuclear program, but not to those imposed by the U.S. for allegedly aggressive actions, Blinken said.
“I would predict that even in the event of a return to compliance … hundreds of sanctions would be maintained, including sanctions imposed by the Trump administration,” Blinken said.
“If they are not incompatible with the JCPOA, they will remain unless and until Iran’s behavior changes,” Blinken said.
JCPOA is an acronym that is frequently used to refer to the official name of the 2015 agreement, the Joint Action Plan.
Blinken said Iran’s trajectory after leaving the deal puts it on track to get enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb in a few months.
In the Gulf, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, renouncing the reactivation of a nuclear pact with Iran, have been pledging to Tehran to contain tensions as they push for future talks to take into account their concerns. of security.
“Gulf countries have said ‘well, the US can go back (to the nuclear deal), this is its decision that we cannot change, but … we need everyone to take regional security concerns into account'”, said Abdulaziz Sager of the Gulf Research Center. , who has been active in the past unofficial Saudi-Iranian dialogue, told Reuters this week.