Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohamad Javad Zarif, asked the European Union on Monday to manage a return of both Tehran and Washington to the nuclear agreement, after a counterpoint regarding who of both should act first. The EU representative for foreign affairs, Josep Borrell, can become “the coordinator of a joint commission” to follow up on the 2015 agreement and outline “the actions that the United States and Iran need to take,” Foreign Minister Javad Zarif told the journalist from CNN Christiane Amanpour.
There may be a mechanism to synchronize” the return of the two countries to the agreement “or to coordinate what can be done,” he added. The Vienna Agreement signed between Tehran and the great powers -the United States, China, Russia, Germany, France, the United Kingdom- imposed limits on the nuclear program of the Islamic Republic, restricting it to civilian use, to prevent it from being equipped with the atomic bomb, in exchange for the lifting of sanctions against Tehran.
But in 2018 then-President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the accord – which he deemed insufficient, lamenting that it did not attack the Iranian ballistic missile program or other “destabilizing” activities in the Middle East – and reinstated and even tightened US sanctions against Iran. The new president of the United States, Joe Biden, promised to return the country to the agreement, but on the condition that Tehran first returns to comply with the clauses that it began to ignore in response to the United States sanctions. For its part, Iran has so far demanded that the Biden administration take the first step, and lift sanctions before anything else.