Ex-White House official urges Biden to rejoin JCPOA ‘step-by-step’

January 31, 2022 - 21:5

TEHRAN - A former White House official has said President Joe Biden’s administration should take a "step-by-step" approach to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal as the U.S. maximum pressure campaign against Iran has failed and the Vienna talks could collapse if some significant progress was not made.

Frank von Hippel, former assistant director for national security in the White House Office of Science and Technology, made the comment in a phone interview with Press TV on Friday as the eighth round of talks on lifting the illegal U.S. sanctions on Iran paused in the Austrian capital.

Von Hippel, now a professor of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, fully agreed with U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price who told a news briefing last Tuesday that the previous U.S. administration had left behind a “terrible set of options,” including its escalations toward the Islamic Republic and that the maximum pressure campaign had been an “abject failure.”

“I agree completely with what Ned Price said,” Von Hippel told Press TV. “I hope that it reflects that the Biden administration is now together in this view, and I hope that Iran’s government is similarly focused on getting both countries back into compliance.”

Former U.S. president Donald Trump left the nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018 under his “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran. At the time his secretary of state Mike Pompeo acknowledged that U.S. will slap “the strongest sanctions in history” against Iran.

The professor from Princeton University said the Biden administration had to make sure that it does not lose any JCPOA supporters in Congress before rejoining the landmark deal as “only a small minority in Congress are eager to start a war with Iran,” and that the U.S. can make it, “but perhaps most easily in a step-by-step process.”

“Some significant progress must be made soon, or the negotiations will collapse,” Hippel said in reference to the Vienna talks.

There should be a “step-by-step process in returning both sides to full compliance with the JCPOA” as well as pursuing the nuclear disarmament of nuclear-armed states and fulfilling their commitments under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the theoretical physicist added.

Iran and the remaining participants to the JCPOA have been holding talks in Vienna since April last year with the aim of reviving the deal by bringing the U.S. into full compliance.

The eighth round of talks between Tehran and the remaining signatories to the nuclear pact is primarily focused on lifting anti-Tehran sanctions.

The Vienna talks began on a promise by Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, to rejoin the deal and repeal the so-called maximum pressure campaign against Iran.

In a Friday phone call with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian described the talks in Vienna as positive.

Expressing Tehran’s deep distrust of U.S. rulers, Amir Abdollahian underscored the need for Washington and its European allies to take practical and tangible measures in order to reach a sustainable and reliable agreement.


 

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