The US abandoned the Iranian nuclear deal under the Trump administration, and talks to revive the deal in Vienna were suspended at the end of June after six rounds between Iran, China, Germany, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and – indirectly – the United States. The Biden administration pledged to renegotiate the deal, but the president’s negotiators were faced with difficult talks and decisions on how to do so. At the same time, Iran began to enrich uranium again after the Trump administration pulled the U.S. out of the deal and became more militant in the Middle East as a hard-headed new leadership rose to power and Iran-backed militias continued to attack U.S. troops.
Biden met at the G20 on Saturday with the three heads of state involved in the deal – German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Leaders then said they were “confident that a return to full compliance agreement can be reached and implemented quickly” with the Iranian nuclear deal.
The meeting came two days after the U.S. imposed new sanctions against Iran related to its drone program and less than a week after Tehran announced it would return to nuclear talks in Vienna after a four-month hiatus.
U.S. officials are very skeptical that renewed talks on handling Iran’s nuclear program will yield the desired results, and are actively discussing the imposition of sanctions on Tehran.
Sources in Washington told CNN that the Biden administration is discussing how to continue and how much to increase pressure on Iran, with some sources believing the U.S. and its allies are now more willing to impose higher costs on Iran for failure. reach an agreement if Tehran continues to implement measures that are not in line with the 2015 nuclear agreement and bring it closer to the development of nuclear weapons.
U.S. officials had previously indicated they wanted the U.S. to return to the negotiating table in late November. But negotiators chosen by Iran’s new tough leadership are openly opposed to the nuclear deal, leaving little optimism in Washington.
On Sunday, whether his administration would respond if Iran carried out drone strikes or made some other provocation, Biden replied: “We will continue to respond.”