The United States has tried and failed for two years to negotiate the revival of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that former president Donald Trump ripped up. Two years on, Washington and its European allies still refuse to close the door to diplomacy with Iran.
The reasoning reflects what experts say is the danger of alternative approaches, the unpredictable consequences of a military strike on Iran, and the belief that there is still time to alter Iran’s course on nuclear.
Experts say the thinking is that even if Iran is inching towards making fissile material, the country is not there yet. Nor has Iran mastered the technology to build a bomb.
The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Burrell said that he believes the EU does not have a better option than the JCPOA to ensure Iran does not develop nuclear.
The JCPOA is the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action under which Tehran reined in its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions.
The battle to revive the nuclear deal has gotten worse this year.
Iran has brutally cracked down on mass popular protests for the past couple of months. In addition, Iranian drones have allegedly made their way to aid Russia’s war in Ukraine and Tehran has accelerated its nuclear program, all of which raise the political price to give Iran sanctions relief.
In 2018, then-president Trump reneged on the 2015 deal.
The deal had a key provision that specifically limited Iran’s enrichment of uranium to a purity of 3.67 percent, which is far below the 90 percent considered to be bomb-grade.
Furthermore, Trump reimposed more sanctions against Iran, leading Tehran to resume previously banned nuclear work.
This has reignited U.S. and European fears that Iran may seek an atomic bomb.
Iran is now enriching uranium to 60 percent.
U.S. politicians have grown more hostile to cutting a deal with Iran because of Tehran’s ruthless crackdown on protests that began after a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini, was beaten and killed in September by Iran’s morality police.
President Joe Biden’s administration has intensified sanctions against Iran in recent months, targeting Chinese entities facilitating sales of Iranian crude and penalizing Iranian officials for human rights abuses.