European powers see hope for Iran accord in United States transition

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif hold a joint press conference in Berlin Germany on 27 June 2017

President-elect Joe Biden will not receive pressure from his European counterparts to rush back into the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The agreement that gave Iran relief from sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme has been hanging by a thread since 2018 when Trump unilaterally withdrew and reimposed punitive measures.

The two countries have twice come to the brink of war since mid-2019.

Iran's parliament on Tuesday passed a bill requiring the country's atomic agency to build a new heavy water reactor and operate a metal uranium production plant as part of efforts to challenge global sanctions on its nuclear program, state media reported.

In an effort to pressure Europe to find a way around the sanctions, Iran has gradually abandoned the limits of the nuclear deal.

Earlier this month, United Nations inspectors confirmed Iran added to its stockpile of enriched nuclear material, a breach of the 2015 deal prompted by the USA exit.

While denying that the Islamic Republic's plans were determined by developments in other countries, Rouhani admitted that the lives of Iranians were impacted by "inhuman and unjust pressure from the White House" and that if the U.S. were to return to its obligations, the conditions in which Iran finds itself would change. Iran long has maintained its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Although Biden appears unlikely to lift crippling sanctions on Iran in his "first steps" in office, as Rouhani demanded in his Wednesday speech, the president-elect has indicated he would return to the nuclear deal if Iran first comes back into compliance.

"Seeing how Iran increasingly violates its nuclear obligations, this is urgently needed", he added after a meeting of the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Britain in Berlin for talks on Iran.



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