Iran warns Biden: Return to old nuclear deal if you want ‘a seat at the table’

“The window of opportunity for the new U.S. administration will not be open forever,” said Iran’s foreign minister.

By Josh Plank, World Israel News

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif laid out Iran’s conditions for America’s reentry into the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, in a Foreign Affairs op-ed on Friday.

“U.S. President Joe Biden can choose a better path by ending Trump’s failed policy of ‘maximum pressure’ and returning to the deal his predecessor abandoned,” said Zarif.

“If he does, Iran will likewise return to full implementation of our commitments under the nuclear deal. But if Washington instead insists on extracting concessions, then this opportunity will be lost,” he said.

Zarif said that the Biden administration must begin by unconditionally removing all sanctions imposed, reimposed, or relabeled since Trump took office.

Then and only then would the remaining signatories to the deal “decide whether the United States should be allowed to reclaim the seat at the table that it abandoned in 2018,” Zarif said.

“That return to the table will be jeopardized if Washington or its EU allies demand new terms for a deal that was already carefully constructed through years of negotiations,” he said.

Zarif said the Biden administration has a fundamental choice to make and the window of opportunity will not be open forever.

He said that Biden’s removal of sanctions against Iran and agreement to abide by the unaltered terms of the JCPOA will “open new possibilities for peace and stability in our region.”

Iran’s terms appear to directly counter recent statements by the Biden administration, which has suggested that Iran should be the first to comply and that the terms of the JCPOA may be subject to some degree of renegotiation.

In the administration’s first White House press briefing on Jan. 20, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the U.S. would seek to “lengthen and strengthen nuclear constraints on Iran and address other issues of concern.”

“Iran must resume compliance with significant nuclear constraints under the deal in order for that to proceed,” she said.

Biden’s Secretary of State nominee Antony Blinken said at a Senate confirmation hearing on Jan. 19, “The president-elect believes that if Iran comes back into compliance, we would too.”

Blinken also said that the U.S. would seek a “longer and stronger agreement.”

In a Sept. 2020 CNN op-ed, Biden said, “If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations.”

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“With our allies, we will work to strengthen and extend the nuclear deal’s provisions, while also addressing other issues of concern,” he said.