Iran, China, Russia, and Europe set to discuss possible U.S. return to JCPOA

April 2, 2021 - 11:15

TEHRAN- A virtual meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will take place on Friday to discuss a possible U.S. return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the European Union said in a statement on Thursday.

"The Joint Commission will be chaired on behalf of EU High Representative Josep Borrell by the Deputy Secretary-General and Political Director of the European External Action Service Enrique Mora. It will be attended by representatives of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Iran," the statement said.

"Participants will discuss the prospect of a possible return of the United States to the JCPOA and how to ensure the full and effective implementation of the agreement by all sides."

In 2018, Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from the JCPOA deal, which is aimed at limiting Iran's nuclear program in exchange for termination of sanctions. Current U.S. President Joe Biden has said the U.S. will rejoin the nuclear deal once Tehran returns to full compliance with the pact's restrictions on nuclear development again.

"We obviously welcome this is a positive step," U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters in Washington on Thursday. "We have been clear for weeks now that we are ready to pursue a return to compliance with our JCPOA commitments consistent with Iran also doing the same."

"We have also been open about the fact that we have been talking with our partners in the P5+1 context and elsewhere about the best way to achieve this, including through a series of initial mutual steps," Price added.

"We've been looking at options for doing so, including with indirect conversations through our European partners."

Iran has been insisting that it is the U.S. that left the agreement without any legal justification and naturally it must be the first party to rejoin the JCPOA. 

The Islamic Republic has said it has removes some bans on its nuclear activities in accordance to paragraph 36 of the JCPOA  which has provided “a mechanism to resolve disputes and allows one side, under certain circumstances, to stop complying with the deal if the other side is out of compliance.”

Iran started to reduce its commitments to the agreement one year after the Trump administration quit the accord and introduced sanctions against Iran.