Oct 31, 2021 - World

Iran's foreign minister says Biden can use "executive order" to return to 2015 deal

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. Photo: Meghdad Madadi/ATPImages/Getty Images

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Sunday questioned the U.S.' political will to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, saying that President Biden could simply issue an "executive order" on the matter if he wished to, Reuters reported.

Why it matters: Amir-Abdollahian's comments come only a day after Biden and the leaders of Germany, France and the United Kingdom issued a joint statement urging Iran to return to nuclear negotiations soon to avoid “a dangerous escalation.”

  • “We call upon President [Ebrahim] Raisi to seize this opportunity and return to a good faith effort to conclude our negotiations as a matter of urgency," the leaders said.
  • The leaders reiterated their determination that Iran should not develop a nuclear weapon and expressed concerns about the country's latest nuclear advances.

What he's saying: Iranian officials have said that the progress in the country's nuclear program is reversible if the U.S. lifts its sanctions, per Reuters.

  • "It is enough for Biden to issue an executive order tomorrow and they [U.S. officials] announce they are rejoining the pact from the point where his predecessor left the deal," said Amir-Abdollahian, according to Reuters.
  • "If there is a serious will in Washington to return to the deal, there is no need for all these negotiations at all," he added.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken addressed the negotiations with Iran during an appearance Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."

  • "We still believe diplomacy is the best path forward for putting the nuclear program back in the box it had been in under the agreement," Blinken said.
  • He also warned that the U.S. is looking at "other options if Iran is not prepared to engage quickly in good faith" to return to the deal.
  • "Iran, unfortunately, is moving forward aggressively with its program," Blinken noted.

The big picture: The U.S. pulled out of the Iran deal in 2018 under the Trump administration, and Iranian government officials then violated the limits placed on its nuclear program.

  • The Vienna talks to return to the deal have been frozen since Iran's new hardline president was elected in June.
  • Last week, Iran's new chief nuclear negotiator said the nation would resume negotiations in Vienna before the end of November, with the exact date to be set this week.
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