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MARCH 2021

Biden Administration Says It Wants To Negotiate With Iran, Rolls Back UN Sanctions

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Biden Administration Says It Wants To Negotiate With Iran, Rolls Back UN Sanctions

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On February 18th, the Biden Administration told the United Nations Security Council it was rescinding a Trump administration assertion that all U.N. sanctions had been reimposed on Iran in September 2020.

Acting U.S. Ambassador Richard Mills informed the 15-member body in a letter, which can be read below.

Biden Administration Says It Wants To Negotiate With Iran, Rolls Back UN Sanctions

Click to see full-size image

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told European allies that President Joe Biden’s administration was prepared to talk to Iran about both countries returning to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, Iran Nuclear Deal).

The Trump administration quit the pact in 2018.

Then in August last year former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he had triggered a 30-day process at the Security Council that led to the return of U.N. sanctions on Iran and stopped a conventional arms embargo on Tehran from expiring on October 18th.

13 of the 15 Security Council members said Washington’s move was void because Pompeo used a mechanism agreed under the 2015 nuclear deal that the Trump administration had abandoned.

Additionally, as mentioned above, The United States would be ready to hold talks with Iran if the European Union extended an invitation.

“We are ready to show up if such a meeting were to take place,” an unnamed US official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity, after talks among the U.S., British, French and German foreign ministers. Earlier, a senior EU official said he was prepared to convene such a meeting among the parties to the deal: Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.

This was later confirmed by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, as mentioned above.

Iran has indicated it will begin blocking IAEA inspectors from its nuclear facilities starting from February 21st.

This is likely why the Biden administration is attempting to find a way forward before this next escalation measure that there are concerns would be hard to roll back takes effect. Both the US and Europe are warning against such a step.

At the start of this month State Department spokesman Ned Price appeared to shrug off EU-backed talks when asked directly about Tehran’s expressed willingness to engage through the Europeans. He said there are “many steps” that had to be taken before engaging “directly with Iran” and before the US is willing to “entertain any sort of proposal.” Later the White House appeared to walk back the comments.

This is a significant change in direction and policy, and it appears that Iran’s increasing influence is paying dividends.

Separately, after a month in office, US President Joe Biden accepted a call from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Little was made public, but the conversation “was very friendly and warm and lasted about an hour,” according to the prime minister’s office.

The White House, Biden “affirmed his personal history of steadfast commitment to Israel’s security and conveyed his intent to strengthen all aspects of the U.S.-Israel partnership, including our strong defense cooperation,” according to a statement.

Little was promised, and it appears that Israel was rather shrugged off.

“Biden and his aides aim to tell Netanyahu, ‘You’re nothing special,'” geopolitical analyst Yossi Melman previously wrote in Israeli outlet Haaretz. “‘The personal connection and chemistry you had with Donald Trump not only fail to advance your standing in Washington, they’re an obstacle,'” according to a speculative report.

It appears that it wasn’t too far from the truth.

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