President Joe Biden has granted an exclusive interview to the CBS, in what is his very first since taking office. At the interview, Biden said that Iran must choose to stop its enrichment of uranium before the United States makes a move towards uplifting sanctions it made on the Islamic Republic.
Biden confirmed that the US would not draw Iran to the negotiating table using the removal of economic sanctions placed on the Middle Eastern country.
Former President Donald Trump had withdrawn the United States from a nuclear agreement it had with Iran, causing mounting tensions between both countries. Trump had called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreement the worst deal ever signed by the US. While the US exited the deal, other countries tried to keep to the dictates of the agreement.
Under Trump, relations between Tehran and Washington were strained, with each country fanning the embers of wars. A US airstrike killing Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s deadly Quds Force, further strained relations between both countries. A month later, after the death of Soleimani, a top scientist with Iran’s nuclear program was assassinated.
Iran followed up with actions of its own, shooting down an American military drone. However, the Iranian authorities claimed that the surveillance was within its airspace. Iran also followed up with other attacks on US installations.
It was the Obama presidency that uplifted the sanctions earlier imposed on Iran, which had destabilized the economy of the Middle Eastern country. Oil exports had crashed, and the economy of Iran was in shambles. The removal of the sanctions came at a price, though. Iran was to bring to a halt its nuclear programs in a deal that was effective through 2025.
The US and other world powers accused Tehran of seeking to become a nuclear power; a move that the US have noted would put the rest of the world in grave danger. Iran has denied this allegation, saying that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
With the US sanctions still in place, Iran has refused to come to the negotiating table. According to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran would only stick to its side of the JCPOA if the US lifts its sanctions. He said that so far, his country had kept his own side of the bargain, while the US and three other European countries have not. The supreme leader was critical of the 2015 nuclear deal and has the final say on all policy matters in Iran.
Last year, the United States single-handedly imposed fresh sanctions against Iran. However, other UN Council members were not in support of this move since it was the US that exited the deal back in 2018. Iran has since upped its uranium enrichment and maybe closer to achieving weapons-grade level capability.