January 24, 2021

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Experts urge Biden to break with Trump ‘failed Iran policy’, return to nuclear deal

More than 50 foreign policy and national security experts have called on US President-elect Joe Biden to break with Donald Trump’s “failed Iran policy” and rejoin the 2015 landmark nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers.

In a letter addressed to Biden and his incoming administration on Friday, the experts expressed their full support for the new US government to “make a clean break” from Trump’s ‘maximum pressure campaign’ and return Washington to the diplomatic path and full compliance with the deal, known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“In 2017, President Trump inherited an enviable position on Iran. Iran’s nuclear program was no longer a source of major security concern, while there was a prospect to broaden diplomatic negotiations to address pressing security concerns in Syria and Yemen. Instead, Trump unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA over the objections of close allies while Iran was still compliant with the accord.”

“This self-inflicted wound set the US on a destructive path with no easy offramp. The US and Iran moved to the precipice of war twice, Iran expanded its nuclear leverage to counter America’s sanctions,” the letter read.

“In short, Trump’s approach has failed, and you will be left with the unenviable task of reversing his damaging policies as you simultaneously contend with domestic rancor and a deadly pandemic. Nevertheless, it is clear to us that the most straightforward path is to move quickly to return the US and Iran to compliance with the JCPOA.”

The nuclear agreement was signed in 2015 between Iran and six world states — namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China — and was ratified in the form of Security Council Resolution 2231.

However, Trump pulled the US out of the JCPOA in May 2018 and reinstated the anti-Iran sanctions that had been lifted by the deal.

The Trump administration also unleashed the so-called ‘maximum pressure campaign’ and targeted the Iranian nation with the “toughest ever” restrictive measures.

As the remaining European parties failed to fulfill their end of the bargain and compensate for Washington’s absence, Iran moved in May 2019 to scale back its JCPOA commitments under Articles 26 and 36 of the deal covering Tehran’s legal rights.

In recent months, Washington has been tightening its oppressive sanctions, defying warnings from the Islamic Republic and international human rights organizations that the restrictions are severely hampering the Iranian health sector’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Elsewhere in their letter, the experts warned that any delay by the Biden administration to return to the negotiating table will cause the US to lose a last opportunity to definitively break with Trump’s policy and risk allowing the window to negotiate with Iran to close entirely.

“It may also encourage Iran to advance its nuclear program further in a bid to enhance its own leverage, injecting crisis at the early stages of a new administration. Iran has many nuclear cards it can still play, including enriching at higher levels, limiting inspector access and withdrawing from the JCPOA and the Non-Proliferation Treaty,” they added.

“Rather than see your negotiating position further erode, you should take immediate action to revive diplomatic channels. On Day 1 of your administration, we encourage you to revoke President Trump’s order (National Security Policy Memorandum 11) withdrawing the US from the JCPOA and request a meeting of the Joint Commission to resolve questions of noncompliance with the accord,” the letter read.

“Simultaneously, the US should ease sanctions that have hobbled Iran’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and were designed to limit a Biden administration’s options to negotiate with Iran.”

Biden has pledged to rejoin the JCPOA, which was inked when he was Obama’s vice president, if Iran returns to compliance.

Tehran has expressed its readiness to reverse the suspension of its commitments only if the US returns to the agreement and lifts all sanctions without any preconditions or if the European co-chairs manage to protect business ties with Iran as part of their contractual obligations.

Speaking on Friday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei emphasized that Iran is in no rush for the US return to the JCPOA.

“Our rational demand is the lifting of the sanctions. This is the Iranian nation’s right which has been violated. They are duty-bound to do that …. If the sanctions are lifted, then the US return to the JCPOA will mean something,” the Leader said.

Ayatollah Khamenei also said that the issue of compensation will be raised in the next stage.

“But if the sanctions are not lifted, their return to the JCPOA may be even to our detriment,” he added.

The Leader further stressed that the recent move by the Parliament and the administration to stop the implementation of nuclear commitments was a totally logical, rational, and acceptable decision.

“When the other side does not implement any of its commitments, there is no point for Iran to fulfill all its commitments,” he said.

However, Ayatollah Khamenie noted, if they return to their commitments, we will do the same.

Original News : https://presstv.com/Detail/2021/01/09/642596/US-Biden-Iran-JCPOA-return

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