“We have been clear for weeks now that we are ready to pursue a return to compliance with our JCPOA commitments, consistent with Iran also doing the same,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters. The agreement is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. “We took note of the Europeans’ announcement today as a positive step, especially if it moves the ball forward,” he said.
President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 accord, which he consistently criticized as a “bad deal.” He reimposed harsh economic sanctions on Iran that had been lifted as part of the agreement, and added more than a thousand new measures. In response, Iran eventually began enriching uranium to levels that the deal had prohibited.
The United States charged, and Iran denied, that its goal was to construct a nuclear weapon.
President Biden campaigned on a promise to rejoin the accord, saying that it had successfully constrained Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The administration now estimates that Iran’s “breakout time” — the amount of time needed to produce enough fissile material for one nuclear device — has been reduced from more than a year, under the agreement, to only a few months.
The Iranians also have said they had no interest in Biden-proposed “follow-on” talks about Iran’s ballistic missile program, proxy wars in the region and alleged terrorism sponsorship.
Both the United States and Iran have to deal with domestic political pressures for and against agreement. Iran is gearing up for elections in June that will center in large part on the nuclear deal.