EU’s Borrell hopeful to see revival of JCPOA

January 20, 2021 - 21:45

TEHRAN – European Union foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell has sharply criticized the Trump administration for the U.S withdrawal from the JCPOA and insists it is necessary the new U.S. President Joe Biden rejoin the deal as soon as possible.

Borrell said Washington would save time by rejoining the Iran nuclear deal that Trump quit in 2018, rather than seeking to negotiate a new arms control accord.

Pointing out what first steps the Biden administration needs to take, Borrell said: “Stop threatening sanctions against everybody who is part of the economic relationship with Iran.”

EU states, which welcomed the agreement in 2015, say Trump’s broad economic sanctions on Iran have provoked Tehran into violating the deal’s restrictions.

However two of President Joe Biden’s top national security nominees said on Tuesday that new U.S. administration does not intend to rejoin the nuclear deal quickly.

Biden has said that if Tehran resumed strict compliance with the 2015 agreement under which Iran restrained its nuclear program in return for termination of economic sanctions Washington would too.
“We are a long way from there,” Antony Blinken, Biden’s choice for secretary of state, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, saying the Biden administration will have to see whether Iran actually resumes complying with the pact.

“We would then have to evaluate whether they were actually making good if they say they are coming back into compliance with their obligations, and then we would take it from there,” he noted, saying Biden’s ultimate goal will be a deal that also restricts Iran’s missile program and support for regional influence.

He added, “If Iran comes back into compliance we would, too, but we would use that as a platform with our allies and partners who would once again be on the same side with us, to seek a longer and stronger agreement.” 

Trump abandoned the nuclear deal in May 2018 and introduced the harshest sanctions on Iran in line with his “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic Republic. Exactly, after waiting for a whole year, Iran said its strategic patience is over and started to gradually remove limits, increasing its stockpile of low enriched uranium, enriching uranium to higher levels of purity and installing centrifuges. Iran did this after the remaining parties to the deal, especially Europeans failed to protect Iran’s from Trump’s sanctions. 

Avril Haines, Biden’s nominee for director of national intelligence, speaking earlier at her own confirmation hearing at the Senate, also suggested a decision to return to the agreement was not imminent.
She emphasized, “(Biden) has indicated that if Iran were to come back into compliance that he would direct that we do so as well. And I think, frankly, that we are a long ways from that.” 


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