Members of new U.S. President Joe Biden’s team held secret talks in New York with an ardent enemy of the United States while Donald Trump’s mandate was still in effect.
The French Le Figaro reported, citing sources close to “power circles in Tehran,” that unofficial talks between Biden’s team and Iranian representatives regarding a nuclear agreement had been going on for three weeks.
“Talks were going on in New York between Iran’s representative to the UN, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, and the U.S. envoy of the Biden administration,” the Figaro interlocutor said.
“We will soon find out whether these talks were successful or not,” the source adds.
The French newspaper claims that major European countries such as France, Britain and Germany were also unaware of the talks.
“They now want to pick up the wording of the announcement to return to the agreement, given that the Americans and Iranians were not supposed to see or talk to each other,” the source adds.
The publication notes that if a breakthrough in negotiations does occur, it will most likely materialize in the form of a “strict and simultaneous return” of the two countries to the 2015 agreement and the lifting of sanctions imposed by the Trump administration since 2018, when the United States unilaterally withdrew from the international deal (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear program despite protests from the EU, UN, France, FRG, UK, Russia, China and Iran itself.
The Donald Trump administration has had very strained relations with Iran, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, on the day of Biden’s inauguration on January 20, urged the new American president to return the United States to the international nuclear agreement. Tehran expressed its willingness to “fully abide by the terms of the deal if the Biden administration is willing to do the same and does not impose new conditions.”
After the U.S. withdrew from the agreement in 2018, Iran gave Western countries a year to establish trade mechanisms to circumvent U.S. sanctions. Since this failed, Tehran began to gradually refuse to comply with the provisions of the agreement, stating, however, that it has no intention to develop nuclear weapons. Iran also stressed that it was ready to return to the deal when the United States did the same.
The nuclear agreement (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) was signed in 2015 by Iran, the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, Germany, and the European Union. It involved lifting sanctions on Iran in exchange for Tehran’s commitment to limit its nuclear program and a promise not to build nuclear weapons.