ROME (NWN) – As Iran’s nuclear program makes alarming gains, President Joe Biden is set to gather with European allies on Saturday to discuss strategy as they push for a diplomatic solution – and to plan for the possibility of Iran refusing to return to the negotiating table. …
The meeting with the leaders of Germany, France and the UK, known as E3, comes at a turning point as Iran continues to enrich uranium to near-weapons-grade levels. Biden is trying to revive the 2015 nuclear deal and bring Iran back into line with a pact that would keep the Islamic Republic from stationing nuclear weapons for at least one year.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that in meetings with Angela Merkel of Germany, Emmanuel Macron of France and Briton Boris Johnson, the leaders “are all singing from the same sheet of songs on this issue.”
He called it “a study in contrast to the previous administration, as Iran was one of the deepest areas of division between the previous administration and the Europeans.”
The UN Atomic Energy Watchdog said Iran is increasingly violating an agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear deal, and the US was indirectly involved in negotiations aimed at bringing Washington and Tehran back into compliance. These negotiations in Vienna have been suspended since June, when Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi came to power.
Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union remain part of the deal.
Saturday’s meeting will take place days after Ali Bagheri, Iran’s deputy foreign minister and chief negotiator, tweeted that Iran has agreed to resume negotiations by the end of November and the date for the resumption of talks “will be announced next. a week.”
Sullivan said Thursday that the US is still trying to determine if Iran is serious about the negotiations.
“It’s not yet clear to me if the Iranians are ready to return to negotiations,” he told reporters aboard Air Force One when Biden flew to Rome for the G20 summit. “We have heard positive signals that there are, but I think we need to wait and see when and if they really appear at the negotiating table. “
Sullivan said the group would send “clear signals” to Iran that the negotiating window was “not unlimited.”
“We, of course, keep all other options to be able to work with this program as needed,” he said.
Saturday’s meeting will take place days after US officials blamed Iran for a drone attack on a remote US outpost in Syria. Officials said Monday that the US believed Iran provided resources and supported the attack, but that the drones were not launched from Iran.
No deaths or injuries were reported as a result of the attack.
In response, the US Treasury Department on Monday announced new penalties against two senior members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and two affiliated companies for supplying lethal drones and related materials to rebel groups in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Ethiopia.
The meeting takes place on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Rome, the first stop on Biden’s five-day overseas trip, which will also take him to the UN climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland.
U.S. officials said Biden was also scheduled to attend a plenary session with other world leaders on the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery on Saturday.
Biden was expected to make progress towards his target of a global corporate tax minimum of 15%, even as his internal efforts to raise the business tax rate to that number in Washington were stuck in limbo.
He was also expected to discuss measures to alleviate the global energy supply crisis, which has driven prices up and threatens the global economic recovery.