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Iran’s Rouhani has ‘no doubt’ Biden admin will rejoin nuke deal, drop sanctions

President of Iran Hassan Rouhani (Official Internet Resources of the President of Russia/Released)
December 21, 2020

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani predicted a Joe Biden presidency would return the U.S. to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the Iran nuclear deal.

Rouhani, speaking at a Thursday press conference reported by the Washington Post, said he has “no doubt” the incoming Biden administration will rejoin the deal, which President Donald Trump withdrew from in 2018.

Rouhani, referring to the Biden administration as “the future U.S. government,” said, “I have no doubt that the heroic national resistance of Iran is going to compel the future U.S. government to bow . . . and the sanctions will be broken.”

Rouhani’s comments referring to the future U.S. government came just days after U.S. electoral college voters cast their votes for Biden.

While Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal, Iran and other countries remain signatories to the 2015 agreement. Despite being a signatory, Iran has repeatedly violated limits on its nuclear development imposed by the deal.

The Iranian president has previously signaled optimism that a Biden presidency would see a return to the nuclear deal.

Last week, Rouhani also discussed returning to the nuclear deal with the U.S., without renegotiating terms of the 2015 deal, such as new limits on Iran’s missile program.

Rouhani said, “The Americans were trying for months to add the missile issue (to the nuclear talks) and this was rejected. (President Donald) Trump was uninformed and did not know about the matter, but Mr. Biden is well aware of the details of the deal. I have not heard Biden say that we have to reach another agreement in order to return to the nuclear deal. That is what Trump says.”

Biden, who served as vice president when the U.S. negotiated with Iran on the 2015 nuclear deal, has also expressed some optimism for a return to the deal.

Biden’s campaign website states, “The historic Iran nuclear deal, negotiated by the Obama-Biden administration alongside our allies and other world powers, blocked Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Yet Trump decided to cast it aside, prompting Iran to restart its nuclear program and become more provocative, bringing the region to the cusp of another disastrous war. If Tehran returns to compliance with the deal, President Biden would re-enter the agreement, using hard-nosed diplomacy and support from our allies to strengthen and extend it, while more effectively pushing back against Iran’s other destabilizing activities.”

While Biden and Rouhani have both suggested paths towards returning to the 2015 nuclear deal, some obstacles could remain. In addition to Iran’s prior noncompliance with the agreement, Iran’s Guardian Council recently approved legislation to further ramp up Iran’s nuclear activities, according to the Washington Post. Rouhani is also up for reelection in June and a different Iranian administration could potentially present a harder stance towards future nuclear negotiations.