Onus on US to Make First Move on Nuclear Standoff

Onus on US to Make First Move on Nuclear Standoff
Onus on US to Make First Move on Nuclear Standoff

The United States and Iran remain in a stalemate over how to restart nuclear negotiations, but Iranian officials are waiting for the US to make the first move, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said. 
Salehi said the US must remove sanctions before Iran agrees to discuss returning to the deal negotiated by the Obama administration in 2015.  
“Why do we want to complicate the issue?” Salehi asked during an interview with PBS. 
“The one who has left JCPOA has to come back first,” he stressed, referring to the deal’s formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Former US president, Donald Trump, withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018, reimposing sanctions that were lifted as part of the agreement. The four other permanent members of the UN Security Council—China, France, Russia and the United Kingdom—plus Germany have vowed to uphold the original agreement. 
One year after the US withdrawal, Iran began a series of actions to reduce compliance with the agreement, including in January by enriching uranium to 20% purity. JCPOA prohibited Iran from enriching uranium past 3.67% for 15 years.
Iran threatened to restrict the access of nuclear inspectors to key production facilities unless the United States removed sanctions by Feb. 23. When that deadline was not met, Iran then reached a last-minute agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency to hold on to recordings at the facilities for three months. 
However, Iran says they will delete the recordings if the US does not lift sanctions by the three-month deadline.
“It’s easy to resolve the issue. Come back to the JCPOA and not let this happen,” Salehi said.
US President Joe Biden signaled his intention before he took office to return to the nuclear deal, but both sides are calling for the other to make policy changes before they reenter negotiations. The United States wants Iran to reverse nuclear measures, but Iran says the US must first lift sanctions. 
Last month, the US said it would be willing to discuss a way forward if European representatives invited them to the table, which offer was rejected by Iran.  
US State Department press secretary, Ned Price, said of the most recent rebuffing, “Our patience can’t be unlimited.”

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