US would only quit Iran nuclear deal if Tehran were to renege, Biden pledges –

President makes commitment alongside Germany, France and UK not to repeat Donald Trump’s walkout on agreement

Joe Biden has given a pledge that if the US returns to the Iran nuclear agreement, it will only subsequently leave if Tehran clearly breaks the terms of the deal. The US president made the commitment, which addresses one of Iran’s key negotiating demands, in a joint statement issued with Germany, France and the UK. The statement followed a meeting on the margins of the G20 in Rome attended by Biden, Germany’s Angela Merkel, France’s Emmanuel Macron and Britain’s Boris Johnson.

The key paragraph of a lengthy statement read: “We welcome President Biden’s clearly demonstrated commitment to return the US to full compliance with the JCPOA [joint comprehensive plan of action] and to stay in full compliance, so long as Iran does the same.” The pledge was welcomed by Mikhail Ulyanov, the Russian ambassador to multilateral bodies in Vienna, where talks on the future of the Iran nuclear deal have been on pause since June.

Throughout the talks Iran has been seeking an undertaking, ideally legally underpinned, that if Iran returns to the deal, future US administrations will not repeat the walkout of the previous president, Donald Trump, which was accompanied by the imposition of tighter economic sanctions on Iran’s financial institutions and political bodies. Biden is hamstrung in the value of the guarantees he can give to Iran because the nuclear deal is not a signed treaty endorsed by the US Senate, and he cannot bind the hands of future US administrations.

However, the Biden pledge, underwritten by the main three European powers, may be a sign that the US wants to create a more positive atmosphere before the resumption of the Vienna talks that Iran has – after much pressure and delay – promised will happen at some point in November. There have already been six rounds of talks, but they broke off in June to allow the new Iranian government, led by the president, Ebrahim Raisi, to review its negotiating strategy.