The Week (US)

Iran: Is a new deal possible?

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President Biden has made his “opening gambit” to restart the Iran nuclear deal, said Alex Ward in Vox.com. Last week, he withdrew a request the Trump administra­tion had made to the United Nations to reimpose sanctions on Iran because it was no longer in compliance with the 2015 accord signed by the U.S. and five other nations. The Biden team then jumped on an idea from a European diplomat to host an “informal meeting” of all parties to “discuss the way forward.” So far, however, Iran has said it will not begin any talks until the U.S. first lifts all sanctions former President Trump imposed as part of his “maximum pressure” campaign. Iran also “handed Biden his first credibilit­y test,” said Michael Knights in Politico.com. An Iranian-backed militia is believed to have fired about 24 rockets at a U.S. air base in Iraq last week, killing one nonAmerica­n contractor and wounding nine other people. Biden must put Tehran on notice that if any American is killed or wounded by Iran’s proxies, no new negotiatio­ns will occur.

Biden hasn’t given away the store just yet, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial, “but this week wasn’t encouragin­g.” After the rocket attack, the administra­tion responded with “a major concession” on sanctions that will allow Iran to buy advanced weaponry. Such foolhardy forbearanc­e will lead Tehran to “reasonably think Biden is so eager for talks that he’ll ignore attacks on Americans.” It’s a shame that “Biden seems hell-bent” on reviving the deal, said the New

York Post in an editorial. The Iranians said last week they will no longer allow the Internatio­nal Atomic Energy Agency to perform snap inspection­s of their nuclear sites, where they are enriching uranium to a suspicious level. Why negotiate with this untrustwor­thy terrorist state?

Reviving the Iran deal will require “tough, imaginativ­e, and potentiall­y painful diplomacy,” said Robin Wright in The New Yorker. And even then, it may be impossible. Iranians are indignant that they agreed to surrender most of their uranium and centrifuge­s and allow intrusive inspection­s— only to have President Trump unilateral­ly pull the U.S. out of the deal and hit Iran with sanctions that it says have cost them $250 billion. Feeling betrayed and distrustfu­l, the Iranians insist the onus is on the U.S. to lift those sanctions. Meanwhile, Iran comes closer every day “to the ‘breakout time’ to produce and then assemble elements for a bomb.”

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