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

Iran: Biden Can Issue 'Executive Order' if Serious About Returning to Nuclear Pact

Iran: Biden Can Issue 'Executive Order' if Serious About Returning to Nuclear Pact

Sunday, 31 October, 2021 - 14:15
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian attends a press conference after his meeting with Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, in Beirut, Lebanon October 7, 2021. Reuters

Iran's foreign minister said on Sunday that if the United States was serious about rejoining Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, President Joe Biden could just issue an "executive order", the state-owned Iran newspaper reported.

The accord, under which Iran curtailed nuclear work seen as a risk of developing nuclear weapons in exchange for a lifting of global sanctions, unraveled in 2018 after then-President Donald Trump withdrew the United States, prompting Tehran to breach limits on uranium enrichment set by the pact.

At the G20 summit in Rome on Saturday, leaders of the United States, Germany, France and Britain urged Iran to resume compliance with the deal in order to "avoid a dangerous escalation", saying they wanted a negotiated solution.

"It is enough for Biden to issue an executive order tomorrow and they (US) announce they are rejoining the pact from the point where his predecessor left the deal," Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told the Iran daily.

"If there is a serious will in Washington to return to the deal, there is no need for all these negotiations at all," Reuters quoted him as saying.

Tehran has said its nuclear steps since Trump abandoned the accord are reversible "if Washington lifts sanctions in a verifiable process".

Talks between Iran and world powers meant to salvage the deal, which started in April, are slated to resume at the end of November, Iran's top nuclear negotiator said on Wednesday. The talks have been on hold since the election of hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi as Iran's president in June.

Concerned about Iran now enriching uranium close to bomb-grade level of fissile purity, Western powers have repeatedly urged Tehran to resume talks, saying the diplomatic window would not stay open forever.

"Washington wants to continue a large part of the sanctions imposed by Trump on Iran. This is unacceptable for Iran," Amirabdollahian said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday Washington was "absolutely in lockstep" with Britain, Germany and France on getting Iran back into the deal, but it not clear if Tehran was willing to rejoin the talks in a "meaningful way".

Holding up progress towards restoring the deal are sharp US-Iranian disagreements over which steps need to be taken and when. Key issues include what nuclear limits Tehran will accept and what sanctions Washington will remove.

In addition to seeking the lifting of Trump-era sanctions, including those related to Iran's record on human rights and support for terrorism, Tehran has other demands such as assurances that Washington will not renege on the deal again.

Editor Picks