Three Of Biden’s Iran Negotiating Team STOP Because US Isn’t Tough Enough On Nuke Deal
Three of Biden’s Team Negotiate with Iran Nuclear Deal MEET as US Not Tough Enough – As Diplomats Warn Talks Enter Critical Phase
- Iran senior negotiator resigns after reports of policy differences
- State Department official confirmed on Tuesday that Richard Nephew has resigned
- He was deputy US special envoy to Iran and was known as a sanctions architect
- At the same time, reports came that two other negotiators had left
- It comes at a critical time in the negotiations between the West and Tehran
A top member of the US team negotiating with Iran has left the role after pushing for a tougher stance on nuclear talks.
A State Department official confirmed that Richard Nephew, known as the architect of sanctions against Tehran, had resigned as US deputy special envoy to Iran.
At the same time, the Wall Street Journal reported that two other negotiators had resigned because they wanted a tougher negotiating position.
Their departure comes at a critical time in talks that resumed two months ago.
Western diplomats say they hope for a breakthrough in the coming weeks, but critical differences persist between the two sides and Britain warned Tuesday of an impending deadlock.
A State Department official declined to comment on the details of internal policy discussions.
A State Department official confirmed that Richard Nephew was no longer Iran’s Deputy Special Envoy but was still working at the State Department
Nuclear talks resumed in Vienna, Austria, in November, but have made little progress. Iran refuses to talk directly to US negotiators. As a result, European diplomats have to transport communications between individual chambers, but the effort has stalled
The Trump administration withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, saying its destabilizing impact in the Middle East and advancements in missile technology put Iran in conflict.
“The previous administration left us with a terrible set of choices regarding Iran,” he said.
Maximum pressure failed, leaving Iran with a rapidly expanding nuclear program and a more aggressive regional stance. At the same time, we were isolated from many of our closest allies and partners.
“Getting out of this crisis will require many difficult, well-balanced decisions, which may reasonably be subject to disagreement.”
Talks about returning to the 2015 nuclear deal that the Trump administration abandoned resumed in Vienna last year.
However, they were complicated by Tehran’s refusal to speak directly with US officials. Instead, communication is shuttled between individual chambers by European diplomats.
But as the clock ticks, Western officials fear it will be only a matter of weeks before Iran obtains the equipment and know-how to produce enough fuel for an atomic bomb.
The result has reportedly been a disagreement within the US team over whether or not to halt talks in light of the Iran drag and how determinedly to enforce existing sanctions.
Under the terms of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the sanctions were lifted in exchange for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told lawmakers on Tuesday that negotiations were “into a dangerous deadlock” and told Iran it must decide whether it wants a deal.
When President Donald Trump re-imposed sanctions in 2018, Iran returned to uranium enrichment.
The Biden administration believes the best way forward is to return to the 2015 deal.
Iran also says it wants to backtrack on the deal, but in the meantime rejects talks about an interim agreement and wants a legal guarantee that the US will not walk away from the JCPOA.
The British Foreign Secretary set out on Tuesday the scale of the problem.
“These negotiations are urgent and progress has not been fast enough. We continue to work closely with our allies, but negotiations are reaching a dangerous deadlock,” Liz Truss told Parliament.
Iran must now choose whether it wants to make a deal or is responsible for the collapse of the JCPOA.
“And if the JCPOA collapses, all options are on the table.”