Under President Joe Biden, the US has now expressed its intent to rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). However, Tehran has insisted that it will only return to full compliance under the nuclear deal if Washington lifts its sanctions first.
Former President Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign against Iran saw the US withdraw from the agreement in 2018.
Abolghasem Bayyenat, a Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University, told Express.co.uk that Mr Trump’s actions left a bitter mark on relations between the two nations.
He said: “Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA was received as a stab in the back in Iran and left a deep sense of betrayal among many Iranians.
“It reinforced the conservative politicians’ long-time conviction that the US is not a reliable and trustworthy partner and that any engagement with the US will be short-lived.
“If implemented in good faith, the JCPOA had the potential to put the Iran-US relationship on a new path and open new avenues for cooperation between the two countries by serving as proof that the two parties are able to keep their end of the deal.”
But Mr Bayyenat explained how the US withdrawal and reinforcement of sanctions on Iran “undermined the position of the moderates in Iran in advocating for a conciliatory foreign policy and bolstered the hardliners‘ narrative that only resistance and defiance against the US can secure Iran’s national interests.”
At the time, Mr Trump re-imposed crippling economic sanctions in an attempt to force Tehran to renegotiate the nuclear agreement.
Iran refused to renegotiate and retaliated by retracting from some of its main commitments to the US.
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He said: “Iranians are just ‘once bitten twice shy’ about it. They don’t want to give up their nuclear leverage first and come back into full compliance with the deal before the US effectively lifts the sanctions.
“Given the nature of Iran’s nuclear commitments which require concrete measures on the ground, once they give up this leverage, it would take them many months or years to rebuild it.
“This is unlike the US commitments which can be reversed at the stroke of a pen. To overcome this deadlock, the parties would have to define a modality that would sequence their reciprocal measures to come back into full compliance.
“This process should take no more that 3 to 4 months. This seems to be the only conceivable formula that could satisfy both parties.”