Biden's Officials In Talks With Iran On Resuming US Participation In Nuclear Deal -Reports

TEL AVIV (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 17th January, 2021) The administration of US President-elect Joe Biden is in the midst of talks with Iran on conditions for Washington's return to the nuclear deal and Israel expects that new provisions will be added to the agreement, the Israeli Channel 12 (Keshet 12) reports.

Officials from the Biden administration have informed Israel that work is already being done on finding an opportunity to have the US return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal. According to Channel 12, Israel will try to secure an improvement of the agreement which will include limits on supporting "terrorism activities" and Iran's ballistic missile program.

At the start of this month, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced that Tehran was not insisting that the US return to the JCPOA, but demanded that unilateral sanctions against Iran are lifted.

Kamal Kharrazi, the chief of the foreign policy think-tank advising Iran's spiritual leader, said on Friday that the US could not return to the nuclear deal until the sanctions are lifted. If this does not happen, it would qualify as extortion, Kharrazi said.

In December, members of the JCPOA expressed their readiness to support the potential return of the US to the agreement, something that is considered highly likely after the inauguration of Joe Biden who was US vice president at the time the nuclear deal was negotiated.

The new administration of the United States must prove its bona fides and lift sanctions imposed on Iran for Tehran to resume full compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said at the start of December.

In 2015, Iran signed the JCPOA with the P5+1 group of countries (the United States, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom - plus Germany) and the European Union. It required Iran to scale back its nuclear program and severely downgrade its uranium reserves in exchange for sanctions relief, including lifting the arms embargo five years after the deal's adoption. In 2018, the US abandoned its conciliatory stance on Iran, withdrawing from the JCPOA and implementing hard-line policies against Tehran, prompting Iran to largely abandon its obligations under the accord.

In December, Iran passed a law to increase its uranium enrichment and stop UN inspections of its nuclear sites in response to the killing of nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. At the start of January, Iran's atomic energy organization announced that the country had succeeded in enriching uranium at 20 percent at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said during a cabinet meeting in November that the new US administration had a chance to reverse the policies of incumbent US President Donald Trump on Iran and end the maximum pressure approach.