'Very Welcome' Progress as Iran Agrees to Restart Talks on Nuclear Deal Sabotaged by Trump

Negotiations to restore the Iran nuclear deal were held in Vienna on April 15, 2021. (Photo: E.U. Delegation in Vienna/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

'Very Welcome' Progress as Iran Agrees to Restart Talks on Nuclear Deal Sabotaged by Trump

One peace advocate urged all sides to reconvene negotiations "as soon as possible and with renewed urgency" to avert "disastrous" consequences for Iran and the world.

Nuclear disarmament campaigners and other peace advocates on Wednesday welcomed an Iranian official's announcement that his country would rejoin talks aimed at reviving the Obama-era nuclear agreement unilaterally abrogated by former U.S. President Donald Trump in 2018.

Ali Bagheri Kani, Iran's new nuclear negotiator, tweeted that he "had a very serious and constructive dialogue" with Enrique Mora, a leading European Union diplomat, and that they agreed "to start negotiations before the end of November."

In April, diplomats from Iran and the so-called P4+1--China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom plus Germany--met in Vienna for discussions on bringing the United States back into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal. U.S. President Joe Biden campaigned on a promise to rejoin the pact, to which Iran adhered for over a year and a half after Trump's withdrawal.

However, the Vienna talks were sidelined in June after hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi was elected Iran's new president.

Ryan Costello, policy director at the National Iranian American Council, called Wednesday's announcement "a very welcome development."

"There is no better deal available for either party through escalation, and continuing the present dynamic of economic pressure for nuclear escalation risks closing the window on a strong nonproliferation agreement that can meet the national security needs of both Washington and Tehran," he said in a statement.

Costello continued:

Committing to resume talks, however, does not guarantee success. Each party to the negotiations must come with flexibility and a strong commitment to overcoming remaining diplomatic hurdles. For Iran, that means not discarding the work at the prior six rounds of negotiations wholesale while also showing flexibility in format and willingness to communicate directly with American diplomats. U.S. negotiators, meanwhile, must provide assurance and commitment that the U.S. will not once again renege on the agreement and that Iran will actually receive the sanctions relief promised.

Costello argued that the "odds of success would also significantly increase if each party approves commonsense goodwill gestures," such as Iran releasing imprisoned dual nationals and the U.S. easing sanctions "to help the Iranian people combat the shared threat of Covid-19."

"There are many hurdles to overcome, and time is of the essence," he said. "We urge the U.S., P4+1, and Iran to reconvene their negotiations as soon as possible and with renewed urgency in order to head off consequences that would be disastrous for the people of Iran, regional security, and global nonproliferation."

Wednesday's announcement comes two days after The Times of Israelreported the Israeli Air Force will begin practicing attacks on Iran's nuclear facilities next year. The paper reported earlier this month that the Israeli government has approved a budget of $1.5 billion to spend on preparations for such an attack.

Israeli operatives, sometimes in collaboration by U.S.-backed militant Iranian dissidents, have been implicated in the assassinations of numerous Iranian nuclear scientists over the past decade. U.S. officials have admitted that the United States and Israel are behind cyberattacks that have damaged Iran's nuclear infrastructure.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi said last week that the Iranian government is not fully cooperative with United Nations efforts to monitor the country's nuclear facilities.

Trita Parsi, executive director of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, toldHill.TV's "Rising" Tuesday that the IAEA difficulties and other obstacles created by the Tehran regime serve as "a reminder as to why it's so necessary from a strategic perspective, from a national security perspective, that we rejoined the JCPOA."

"Any desire for a longer a stronger deal--which may very well be quite legitimate--needs to be dealt with once we're back into the deal," he added, "and not now, when we're still outside of it."

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