The United States has agreed to participate in the multilateral talks with Iran hosted by the European Union to negotiate a return by both countries to the nuclear agreement reached in July 2015 (JCPOA) and from which the former Trump administration withdrew in May 2018. The US State Department spokesman Ned Price announced yesterday, explaining that the United States will accept the invitation of EU High Representative Josep Borrell to talk with Iran and with the other countries that have agreed on Tehran’s nuclear program deal.
The White House explained that its delegation will be led by Special Envoy Rob Malley. “As long as we don’t sit down and talk, nothing will happen, but that doesn’t mean that when we sit and talk, we will be successful,” a senior State Department official quoted by The New York Times said. “We know that if we don’t take that step, the situation will go from bad to worse,” he added. An opening in this sense should come from the president himself, Joe Biden, who is speaking today at the conference on security in Munich.
For his part, Tehran returned today to ask the United States to lift the sanctions imposed by the Trump administration: a concession that Biden can hardly make before seeing concrete progress. The tangible sign of the difficulties with which the renewed dialogue starts. The confrontation between Iran and the United States on Tehran’s nuclear program and in particular on the “JCPOA” agreement of 2015 has entered a decisive phase.
In Paris, the foreign ministers of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom met and had a video dialogue with the American secretary of state Antony Blinken. The message sent to Iran is this: it would be dangerous for Tehran to block AIEA inspections, as the Iranians have threatened to do in recent weeks. Iran calls for the US to make the first move, or to lift the economic sanctions previously triggered by the Donald.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian received his colleagues from Berlin and London, Heiko Maas and Dominic Raab, at the Quai d’Orsay; from Paris, they activated the connection with Blinken, a meeting entirely dedicated to the Iranian nuclear issue. At the end of the discussions, the 4 issued a joint note in which they ask Tehran to “consider the consequences of such a serious action, especially in this moment of renewed diplomatic opportunity”.
After the US exit from the JCPA, the Trump administration in 2018 reintroduced harsh economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Sanctions that effectively blocked the country’s oil exports and brought the economy to its knees. Since his presidential election campaign, Joe Biden had hinted that his administration would return to the JCPOA.
But in the meantime, one year after the new US sanctions, Iran has gradually begun to violate the treaty. It has increased the number of centrifuges used to enrich uranium. It has refined the metal in quantities and percentages outside the boundaries of the treaty and has also recently begun to produce metallic uranium, which is a form of material used primarily for military production.