Current members of the Joint Comprehensive Plan on Action (JCPOA) will today hold an online meeting to resume talks on preserving the Iran nuclear deal.
On Wednesday, the UK, France and Germany warned Iran against installing three new centrifuge cascades in its Natanz nuclear plant, as US President-elect Joe Biden has conditioned Washington’s re-entry into the JCPOA on Iran’s compliance with the deal’s nuclear enrichment restrictions. However, citing Article 26 of the JCPOA, Iran argues that the US has voided Iran’s obligations to stick to its previous commitments by re-imposing sanctions.
To move forward with the deal, the JCPOA committee will need to settle which side will make the initial concession. While European signatories are pressing Iran to limit its nuclear program as a pre-requisite, Russia and China will likely call on the US to soften its sanctions. Still, since both sides have expressed a strong interest in re-entering the deal—and any negotiation must be finalised before June 2021, when Iran’s moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, leaves office—disagreements will likely be resolved diplomatically.
The major sticking point will be the possible introduction of a restriction on Iran’s regional adventurism—a provision that Biden will push for as a “follow-on negotiation,” but will likely incite a backlash from Tehran.
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Esra is an analyst on the Current Developments division and a member of The Daily Brief’s research team. She specialises in political and security issues with a particular focus on the Middle East and North Africa.