Iran on Sunday rejected a proposal to barter immediately with the United States in a casual assembly proposed by Europeans to revive the nuclear deal that President Donald J. Trump exited practically three years in the past.
A spokesman for Iran’s overseas ministry, Saeed Khatibzadeh, mentioned latest actions taken by Washington and Europeans had led Iran to conclude that the “time was not right” to carry such talks. His remarks got here days after President Biden ordered retaliatory strikes in opposition to Iranian-backed militias in jap Syria that have been tied to latest assaults in opposition to American and allied personnel in Iraq.
“There has been no change in America’s positions and actions,” Mr. Khatibzadeh mentioned in a overseas ministry assertion. “The Biden administration has not set aside Trump’s maximum pressure policy, nor has it announced its commitments” beneath the 2015 nuclear deal deserted by Mr. Trump.
Mr. Biden has mentioned the United States will return to the deal if Iran first returns to the commitments it made when it was signed. Iran has demanded that the U.S. elevate all sanctions in opposition to it, and it has not too long ago taken steps to extend uranium enrichment and restrict the entry by worldwide inspectors to its nuclear websites.
That deadlock prompted European signatories to the deal to counsel a casual assembly through which the Americans would attend as a visitor and the 2 sides would get the chance to interact immediately.
Privately, American officers have expressed confidence that the timing questions might be resolved, noting that when the nuclear deal was being enforce in early 2016, Iran and the United States engaged in a collection of exactly coordinated actions that eradicated the query of who was making the primary transfer.
But the political sensitivities are excessive.
Mr. Biden is conscious that Republican opponents of the deal are on the lookout for any indicators that his new administration is making concessions with out getting something in return. And Iran has a presidential election in lower than 4 months, which means no Iranian officers need to seem like bending to American will.
So far, Mr. Biden has blended a willingness to re-engage in diplomacy with modest army pushback to Iran’s help of proxy militias in Iraq and elsewhere.
The good-will gestures included an abandonment of a failed effort by the Trump administration to drive the re-imposition of United Nations sanctions that date to earlier than the 2015 deal. Mr. Trump argued that since Iran had resumed the manufacturing of nuclear materials at ranges prohibited by the accord, these sanctions ought to routinely snap again into place.
The State Department additionally eased journey restrictions on Iranian diplomats coming to the United Nations and accepting Europe’s invites to direct talks.
But then got here Mr. Biden’s choice to order army strikes Thursday on a number of buildings used by the Iranian-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah and different teams in jap Syria close to the Iraqi border. The strikes have been a response to a rocket assault on Feb. 15 in northern Iraq that killed one civilian contractor and wounded an American service member and members of coalition troops.
Mr. Biden mentioned the strikes have been geared toward sending a message to Iran that “you can’t act with impunity — be careful.”
The escalating army tensions coincided with Iran weighing whether or not it will meet with the Americans, a notion that’s simply as unpopular inside Iran’s conservative factions as it’s amongst many Republican leaders within the United States.
A White House spokesman mentioned Sunday that the United States was “disappointed” by Iran’s rejection of the talks however that “we remain ready to re-engage in meaningful diplomacy,” Reuters reported.
Henry Rome, a senior analyst who follows Iran for the Eurasia Group, a political-risk consultancy, mentioned Iran’s choice partially mirrored its leaders’ need to look resilient within the face of U.S. stress.
“This is far from a death knell for negotiations,” he mentioned in an e mail.
In his remarks Sunday, Mr. Khatibzadeh mentioned Iran would reply in form to each stress and concessions from Washington.
Iran, he mentioned, will “return to our commitments” in sanctions are lifted. But, he warned, it can additionally “respond to aggressive actions accordingly.”
Mr. Rome mentioned the standoff made clear how “messy” reviving the dealt may show.
“Even if the overall direction of travel is clear,” he mentioned, “Washington and Tehran will zig and zag in efforts to build up leverage and handle their own domestic political considerations.”
Rick Gladstone contributed reporting.