Oct 30, 2021 - World

Biden, European leaders urge Iran to resume talks to avoid “dangerous escalation”

world leaders meet on Iran
From left, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Biden hold an E3 meeting at the G20 Summit on Oct. 30 in Rome. Photo: Jeff J Mitchell - Pool/Getty Images

President Biden and the leaders of Germany, France and the United Kingdom met on Saturday and called on Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to return to nuclear negotiations soon in order to avoid “a dangerous escalation.”

Why it matters: The joint statement, released after the four met on the sidelines of the G20 summit, was intended to demonstrate that the United States and its European allies are united in their approach going into renewed talks with Iran.

Driving the news: The Biden administration on Friday imposed new sanctions on two entities and four individuals that are connected to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps' drone attacks, including against U.S. forces, in the region.

  • In what could be a signal to Iran, the Israeli military released photos and videos on Saturday of Israeli F-15 jets accompanying a U.S. Air Force B-1 strategic bomber during its flight over Israeli airspace.

What they are saying: “We call upon President Raisi to seize this opportunity and return to a good faith effort to conclude our negotiations as a matter of urgency.  That is the only sure way to avoid a dangerous escalation, which is not in any country’s interest,” according to the joint statement.

  • The four leaders expressed determination to “ensure that Iran can never develop or acquire a nuclear weapon” and shared their “grave and growing concern” about the frozen negotiations on the return to the 2015 nuclear deal and Iran’s latest nuclear advances.
  • They expressed alarm at Iran’s production of highly enriched uranium and enriched uranium metal. “Iran has no credible civilian need for either measure, but both are important to nuclear weapons programs,” they stressed.

What’s next: At the top of the two-hour-long meeting, Biden was asked when the talks will start. “They’re scheduled to resume,” is all he would say.

  • Iran's new chief nuclear negotiator said following a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday that Iran would resume negotiations in Vienna before the end of November, with the exact date to be set next week.
  • The leaders stressed in their statement they are still committed to a diplomatic solution and said the international sanction on Iran will only be lifted if Tehran changes course.

Go deeper: Iran agrees to resume Vienna nuclear talks in November

Go deeper