Iran nuclear deal signatories push for US return once Biden takes office

Iran nuclear deal signatories push for US return once Biden takes office

Europeans commit to revival of accord as first priority ahead of any talks on expanding it

European powers are backing president-elect Joe Biden’s suggestion that the US returns to a landmark nuclear deal with Iran in its existing form and leave their more contentious push to expand the accord to curb Tehran’s military and regional policies until later.

Germany, France and the UK committed, along with fellow accord signatories Iran, Russia and China, to “positively address” Washington’s possible re-entry after President Donald Trump quit in 2018.

The approach — which is likely to disappoint the US’s main Middle East partners — sets the stage for Mr Biden’s administration to lay out its strategy once it takes office next month. Mr Biden has said he sees a return to the current 2015 agreement as the best immediate route to regional stability, with the possibility for “follow-on” accords to toughen nuclear curbs and address Iran’s ballistic missile activities. 

Foreign ministers from the six remaining signatory countries to the deal, which is known as the JCPOA, offered encouragement for Washington’s return, while not mentioning proposals to widen the accord.