The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden is considering various options to ease Iran’s financial situation without lifting economic sanctions. This is reported by Bloomberg, citing four sources close to the president’s team.
According to them, in this way, the White House wants to take a step towards resuming the 2015 nuclear deal, which was abandoned by the administration of the previous President Donald Trump.
Loans from the International Monetary Fund to fight the pandemic are being considered as a possible aid to Tehran. In addition, the U.S. has not ruled out some easing of sanctions that have prevented international assistance to Iran to fight Covid-19. Washington may justify the easing of restrictions on humanitarian grounds.
Bloomberg sources reported that Biden may sign an executive order reversing Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal. However, the lifting of sanctions restricting Tehran’s free trade in oil is still out of the question.
Trump announced the United States’ withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, a pact to lift anti-Iranian sanctions in exchange for limiting the country’s development of nuclear weapons) in May 2018. After that, the nuclear deal effectively came to an end. Over the next two years, the U.S. strengthened its sanctions policy against Tehran, which responded by increasing uranium enrichment at its facilities.
On the eve of Biden’s inauguration, Tehran imposed sanctions on most senior White House leaders. Trump himself, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, former Pentagon chief Mark Esper, acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, and CIA chief Gina Haspel were all subject to the restrictions.
According to Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh, the sanctions were imposed in connection with support for terrorist activities, which Iran, among other things, included the assassination of General Qassem Suleimani in January 2020.
On Jan. 29, Biden appointed Robert Malley, who served as special envoy on Iran in the administration of the-U.S. President Barack Obama, as foreign policy chief. He will be responsible for negotiating with Tehran to reduce uranium enrichment and resume the JCPOA. Mally had previously held successful talks with Iran.
At the same time, The Wall Street Journal reported in February that experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) found traces of radioactive substances at two sites in Iran in the fall of 2020. The newspaper wrote that this may indicate the development of nuclear weapons.