Amid talks aimed at reaching a new agreement with Iran to bring that nation back into compliance with parameters outlined in 2015, Biden administration National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has revealed that, in terms of where things currently stand, “It’s not going well,” as The Hill reports.
During an event held under the auspices of the Council on Foreign Relations, Sullivan declared, “It’s not going well in the sense that we do not yet have a pathway back into the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action].”
Negotiations for the government in Tehran to re-enter the aforementioned pact – from which former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States back in 2018 – began anew late last month after having come to a halt over the summer when a new Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, was elected.
While the U.S. is not a direct participant in the current talks, given its non-party status, President Joe Biden has long indicated his willingness to rejoin a version of the Obama-era nuclear deal, should agreement be achievable.
Upon the American exit from the deal during Trump’s tenure, Tehran largely ceased compliance with limits placed on a large portion of its nuclear development programs as well as with inspection requirements imposed in exchange for relief from economic sanctions, as The Hill further noted.
According to Fox News, Iran has expressed its unwillingness to restart any treaty agreements unless and until Washington lifts sanctions, something Biden has declined thus far to do, owing to the pace and breadth of Iran’s nuclear program development in recent years.
As a result, said Sullivan, “Getting that program back into a box through a return to mutual compliance with the JCPOA has proven more difficult through the course of this year than we would have liked to see.”
“I’m not going to circle a date on the calendar next week or next month, but I will say that as they continue to move their program forward, it does imperil the fundamental viability of the JCPOA over time,” Sullivan added.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo opined earlier this summer just prior to the resumption of the current nuclear talks with Iran that “the entire basis of the [JCPOA] was fundamentally flawed” and expressed his hope that “the Biden administration will see this isn’t 2015,” by not granting dangerous concessions to Tehran, but whether that advice is actually heeded is something that remains to be seen.