Iran hopes for resumption of nuclear talks with Joe Biden

In a newspaper kiosk in Tehran, Sunday, November 8.

President Hassan Rouhani asked, Sunday, November 8, after the announcement of the Democratic candidate’s victory in Washington, to “Take this opportunity to correct past mistakes”. The Iranian head of state invited the future US administration to “Return to the path of adherence to international commitments and respect for international law”. An allusion to Donald Trump’s unilateral exit, in May 2018, from the agreement on Tehran’s nuclear issue severely limiting its atomic activities, signed in 2015 with the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany , Russia and China, to prevent the country from developing a nuclear weapon.

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During his election campaign, Joe Biden has already indicated his intention to propose to Iran “A credible way back to diplomacy” with a view to reintegrating the United States into the nuclear agreement, without giving further details. “What we know about Joe Biden is that he will work closely with Europe to return to the nuclear deal”, explains Ariane Tabatabai, Middle East specialist at the Alliance for Securing Democracy within the German Marshall Fund.

Since the American exit from the agreement, the Europeans have tried to convince Iran to respect its commitments, by trying to set up the Instex structure (acronym for “instrument of support for trade”), to continue to trade. with Tehran despite US sanctions. But apart from a first transaction for medical equipment in March, Instex was a failure. Iran has already freed itself from many of its commitments, including the limit on the stockpile of enriched uranium and its degree of purity, well above the levels authorized by the agreement, according to reports from the International Agency. of atomic energy (IAEA). These high levels of enrichment raise fears that Iran is using its uranium for military purposes.

A dramatic recession

According to Ariane Tabatabai, the talks on the nuclear deal will be for the new US president as a “Stepping stone towards a broader engagement with Iran », Especially on subjects like “Tehran’s ballistics program, its regional activities and the issue of binational prisoners held in Iran”, supports the researcher.

At least three Iranian-Americans are now behind bars in Iran, which does not recognize binationality and where binationals are often used as bargaining chips in negotiations with the West. In 2016, as the lifting of international sanctions came into effect following the signing of the nuclear deal, the Islamic Republic of Iran released Iranian-American prisoners, including the journalist from the Washington post Jason Rezaian. This episode may suggest that other releases of binationals are possible.

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