Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Iran Waits For Biden to Make the First Diplomatic Move

Iran Waits For Biden to Make the First Diplomatic Move

Wednesday, 27 January, 2021 - 10:15
Iran’s UN Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi (File photo: AFP)

Iran has no plans to hold talks with the new US administration and is waiting for President Joe Biden to take the first step to lift sanctions and return to the nuclear agreement, Tehran's UN ambassador told NBC News.

In his first interview since Biden was sworn in last week, Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi announced that Iran has not spoken to the new administration yet.

In 2018, former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed between Iran and international powers to limit Tehran’s nuclear program in return for easing economic sanctions.

Iran denied reports about negotiations between a team led by Takht Ravanchi and the US administration, however, several media leaks reported that the mediation channels between Washington and Tehran have been reactivated.

Washington is not in a hurry to start negotiations with Tehran, and its return to the nuclear agreement is conditioned with an agreement on Iran’s missile activities and its destabilizing role in the region.

Many political circles and researchers affiliated with the Democratic party refrain from commenting on the issue of Biden's approach towards Tehran.

Meanwhile, senior advisor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) Richard Goldberg said that statements of Biden administration officials are now subject to analysis.

Goldberg, who previously served as an advisor on Iran in the Trump administration, told Asharq Al-Awsat that officials in the Biden administration are debating the return to the JCPOA first, and later they might seek a new agreement that addresses other issues."

The advisor believes it would be a strategic mistake because the United States would lose influence in advance before forcing the Iranians to address other matters.

He added that at the same time, Antony Blinken, who is nominated for the position of the secretary of state, announced that he does not believe it is in Washington’s national security interest to lift sanctions targeting Iran's central bank, the national oil company, financial sector, and energy sector.

Blinken believes that sanctions should remain imposed on the central bank and oil company because of their involvement in financing terrorism, and both entities are among the institutions that would benefit from the JCPOA.

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