On Wednesday, Iran welcomed diplomatic attempts to resurrect its 2015 nuclear deal with major nations, a day after the European Union’s top diplomat presented a new draft to resurrect the accord.
“Iran welcomes the continuation of diplomacy and negotiations,” Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell via phone, according to Iranian official media.
“The United States always states that it wants an agreement, so this approach should be seen in the agreement and in practice,” Amirabdollahian remarked. It was unclear what he meant at first.
Borrell said on Tuesday that he has offered a fresh draft document to resurrect the 2015 agreement under which Iran curtailed its nuclear program in exchange for respite from economic sanctions.
In 2018, then-US President Donald Trump reneged on the agreement and reimposed US sanctions, forcing Iran to breach the deal’s nuclear limitations.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was designed to make it more difficult for Iran to collect the fissile material needed to build a nuclear bomb, an objective Iran has long rejected, claiming that its nuclear program was for peaceful reasons.
The State Department said on Tuesday that it was evaluating Borrell’s request and will reply to the EU.
On Tuesday, Borrell said that the arrangement on the table demonstrated “the determination of all … to ensure its sustainability, including the commitment of President Joe Biden and US assurances in this regard.”
He seemed to be referring to Biden’s pledge in an October 2021 White House statement to “to return the U.S. to full compliance with the JCPOA and to stay in full compliance, so long as Iran does the same.”
Separately, the White House refused to comment on an Axios article citing White House Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk as stating the 2015 agreement would be “highly unlikely” to be renewed in the near future.