UPDATED 1:38 PM PT – Wednesday, March 23, 2022
The State Department is lowering its expectations of returning to the controversial 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. It’s just over a year into the Joe Biden presidency and his administration is already backing away from its top foreign policy goal.
While speaking with reporters on Tuesday, U.S. Department of State spokesperson Ned Price lamented “the jury’s still out” regarding the return to the Obama-era Iran Nuclear Deal.
Biden diplomats have reportedly exhausted months of third party negotiations to resurrect the agreement and even offered to lift Trump-imposed sanctions on the Ayatollah regime as well as lift the terrorist designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
Earlier this month, Biden’s national security apparatus and international partners espoused optimism for a return to the deal. However, talks stalled in response to U.S sanctions imposed on Russia who reportedly has a heavy influence in negotiations with Russian diplomats threatening to derail the talks all together.
Price claims Russia has since simmered down their threats and all parties are continuing to hash out differences. However, Price said it’s not up to the Biden administration to force a deal.
“We know that there has to be a great deal of urgency and we know that now the onus is on Tehran to make decisions regarding its willingness to enter into, once again, a mutual return to compliance or not,” he stated.
Price went on to claim Biden’s diplomats have always planned for a world where there was no deal with Iran. He also praised the efforts of the Trump administration to foster peace in the Middle East while citing the historic Abraham Accords.
This came after leaders of Israel, the UAE and Egypt all met to bolster trilateral relations and strategize how to combat Iran’s influence in the region. Many Arab state governments condemned the original Obama-era deal, arguing it gave the Ayatollah a slap on the wrist concerning its support for terrorist activities carried out by Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen.
Price commended the new trilateral partnership, stressing their goals align with America’s. In the meantime, the official said the State Department, along with Special Envoy to Iran Rob Malley, will continue to monitor negotiations. However, he now suggested a deal is neither imminent nor certain.