As many as 150 US House Democrats have called on Democratic president-elect, Joe Biden, to rejoin the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, in a move completely antithetical to outgoing President Donald Trump’s unilateral exit from the multilateral agreement.
“We strongly endorse your call for Iran to return to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States to rejoin the agreement, and subsequent follow-on negotiations,” the Congress members said in a letter, which was published by the US Congress website on Wednesday.
In July 2015, Iran and six world powers – the US, the UK, France, Russia and China plus Germany – inked an agreement officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Tehran’s nuclear program.
The JCPOA, which was the outcome of numerous rounds of negotiations, was ditched by Trump in May 2018, in pursuit of what he called the maximum pressure policy against the Islamic Republic. The US also reinstated the sanctions that had been lifted against Iran.
In response to the US moves and the failure of the Europeans to shield trade with Tehran, Iran started to gradually reduce its commitments under the JCPOA after giving the remaining parties to the deal a whole year to compensate for the damage it suffered from Trump’s withdrawal.
In their Wednesday letter, the American lawmakers also criticized the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” policy, saying it has greatly increased the likelihood of violent confrontation and conflict in the region.
“The Trump administration’s unilateral withdrawal from the internationally negotiated and UN-endorsed JCPOA undermined global non-proliferation efforts, fractured US relationships with key allies, diminished US leadership and influence, and reduced US leverage” in addressing national security issues, they said.
The Democratic legislators also said they are united in their support for “swiftly taking the necessary diplomatic steps” to restore constraints on Iran’s nuclear program and return both Iran and the US to compliance with the JCPOA, which they claimed could act as a “starting point for further negotiations.”
Iran has strongly rejected the possibility of renegotiating the terms of the JCPOA, even after the Biden administration takes office. Biden has stated his intention to re-enter the deal, which was signed when he was vice president in Barack Obama’s administration.
Iran has also said it will return to full compliance with its JCPOA commitments after the US rejoins the deal, fulfills its obligations and lifts its inhumane sanctions.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday highlighted the need to preserve the JCPOA and said the nuclear agreement benefits the entire world.
He added that the US sanctions on Iran are the joint product of the Israeli regime, the reactionary countries of the region and the hardliners in the US.
“Of course, we do not need anyone in the world to feel sorry for us, and we do not need pity,” Rouhani noted. “What matters is that if America lifts these sanctions, it just means that it has stopped its crime.”