| 27 May 2024, Monday |

Iran says Biden can issue ‘executive order’ if serious about returning to nuclear pact

According to the state-run Iran daily, Iran’s Foreign Minister stated on Sunday that if the US was serious about rejoining Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, President Joe Biden could just sign a “executive order.”

The agreement, which saw Iran reduce nuclear activities that may lead to the development of nuclear weapons in exchange for the removal of global sanctions, fell apart in 2018 after then-President Donald Trump withdrew the US, causing Tehran to break the pact’s uranium enrichment limits.

Leaders of the United States, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom encouraged Iran to restart compliance with the accord at the G20 meeting in Rome on Saturday, saying they preferred a diplomatic solution to “prevent a disastrous escalation.”

“All Biden has to do tomorrow is issue an executive order, and they (the US) say they are entering the treaty from where his predecessor left it,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told the Iran daily.

“There is no need for all of these conversations if there is a sincere desire in Washington to return to the pact.”

Tehran has said its nuclear steps since Trump abandoned the accord, saying it was flawed to Iran’s advantage, are reversible “if Washington lifts sanctions in a verifiable process”.

Talks between Iran and world powers meant to salvage the deal, which started in April, are slated to resume at the end of November, the Islamic Republic’s top nuclear negotiator said on Wednesday. The talks have been on hold since the election of hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi as Iran’s president in June.

Concerned about Iran now enriching uranium close to bomb-grade level of fissile purity, Western powers have repeatedly urged Tehran to resume talks, saying the diplomatic window would not stay open forever.

“Washington wants to continue a large part of the sanctions imposed by Trump on Iran. This is unacceptable for Iran,” Amirabdollahian said.

Iran denies any intention to develop nuclear bombs.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday Washington was “absolutely in lockstep” with Britain, Germany and France on getting Iran back into the deal, but it not clear if Tehran was willing to rejoin the talks in a “meaningful way”.

Holding up progress towards restoring the deal are sharp U.S.-Iranian disagreements over which steps need to be taken and when. Key issues include what nuclear limits Tehran will accept and what sanctions Washington will remove.

In addition to seeking the lifting of Trump-era sanctions, including those related to Iran’s record on human rights and alleged support for terrorism, Tehran has other demands such as assurances that Washington will not renege on the deal again.

  • Reuters