Five years since the collapse of the JCPOA nuclear talks, dozens of ex-US diplomats have called to end diplomatic overtures to Tehran.
In a letter to President Joe Biden, the former diplomats claim the President’s softly-softly approach urging good behavior in return for a revival of the nuclear deal signed under former President Barack Obama, have only served the interests of Iran.
The group of over two dozen urged for a tougher approach, which had led former President Donald Trump to abandon the nuclear deal in 2018.
“Today, we write to urge you and your team to stop all diplomatic overtures toward the Islamic Republic of Iran and instead reimpose the ‘maximum pressure’ campaign – the only effective policy to protect the American people, the Iranian people, and others in the region and around the world from the Islamic Republic’s threats,” the group wrote.
In addition to former diplomats and ambassadors, the signatories include former members of Congress who urged the Biden administration to change course. Though Biden has sought to re-enter the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal since gaining office, negotiations have gone nowhere, Iran’s military activities against the US only worsening.
While Trump pulled out of the deal to force Tehran to agree to a tougher agreement, change its regional policies and limit military expansion, Iran retaliated with more uranium enrichment, especially after Joe Biden assumed office and began indirect talks to revive the JCPOA.
In February UN inspectors revealed their discovery of uranium particles of 83.7% purity at an Iran nuclear facility built deep underground to protect it from air strikes.
The regime has also grown increasingly outspoken about its hatred of the US, among its arch enemies and tensions have continued to soar including rising numbers of attacks from Iran on US facilities in Syria and the seizure of oil tankers in Persian Gulf waters.
“The United States should never preemptively set the negotiating table with concessions, not least with an adversary with four decades of rhetoric and actions targeting the United States and the American people”, the group said.
“The approach of preemptively offering sanctions relief and that trust in the regime is entirely misplaced and reckless given the regime’s record of lying about its nuclear program.”
Americans jailed in Iran Siamak Namazi (left), Emad Shargi (center) and Morad Tahbaz
Last week, the Biden administration announced new sanctions against the intelligence wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps over its role in the detention of Americans Siamak Namazi, Emad Shargi and Morad Tahbaz, who have been held for years on what the US State Department calls “bogus” espionage charges.
A bipartisan congressional group last week also introduced a bill that would permanently allow American presidents to apply economic sanctions on Iran.
Ali Bagheri Keni, Iran's political deputy minister of foreign affairs and chief negotiator, on Tuesday called the withdrawal “illegal” and demanded compensation including the lifting of sanctions.
In a denial of Iran's continued nuclear activity, he wrote: "While Iran's legitimate compensatory measures in the nuclear field continue, the resumption of the full implementation of the agreement, the essential element of which should be the effective and sustainable lifting of sanctions, should the violating party (and the European Union/Troika) have a valid political will to finalize the negotiations.”