On October 30, President Joe Biden and the leaders of Britain, France and Germany said that the 2015 nuclear deal could be restored quickly if Iran changes course. “We call upon President [Ebrahim] Raisi to seize this opportunity and return to a good faith effort to conclude our negotiations as a matter of urgency. That is the only sure way to avoid a dangerous escalation, which is not in any country’s interest” President Biden, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, President Emmanuel Macron, and Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a joint statement on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome.
The four leaders also expressed “grave and growing concern” over Iran’s production of highly enriched uranium and enriched uranium metal. “Iran has no credible civilian need for either measure, but both are important to nuclear weapons programs.”
“They are scared,” read a front-page headline in Vatan-e Emrooz, a conservative Iranian paper. The article said that the joint statement included “signs of anxiety” about Iran’s increasing nuclear power.
From April to June 2021, Iran and the world’s six major powers – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States – held six rounds of talks on restoring the 2015 nuclear deal. Diplomacy stalled in June during Iran’s presidential campaign and the political transition as Ebrahim Raisi took office and appointed his cabinet in August. On October 27, Iran’s lead negotiator announced a return to nuclear talks with the world’s six major powers by the end of November. The following is the full text of the joint statement by the leaders of Britain, France, Germany, and the United States.
Joint Statement by the President of France Emmanuel Macron, Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland Boris Johnson, and President of the United States Joseph R. Biden, Jr. on Iran
We, the President of France, Chancellor of Germany, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and President of the United States, met in Rome today to discuss the risks posed to international security by Iran’s escalating nuclear program. We expressed our determination to ensure that Iran can never develop or acquire a nuclear weapon and shared our grave and growing concern that, while Iran halted negotiations on a return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) since June, it has accelerated the pace of provocative nuclear steps, such as the production of highly enriched uranium and enriched uranium metal. Iran has no credible civilian need for either measure, but both are important to nuclear weapons programs.
These steps have only been made more alarming by Iran’s simultaneously decreased cooperation and transparency with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). We agreed that continued Iranian nuclear advances and obstacles to the IAEA’s work will jeopardize the possibility of a return to the JCPOA.
The current situation underscores the importance of a negotiated solution that provides for the return of Iran and the U.S. to full compliance with the JCPOA and provides the basis for continued diplomatic engagement to resolve remaining points of contention – both our concerns and Iran’s. In this spirit, we welcome President Biden’s clearly demonstrated commitment to return the U.S. to full compliance with the JCPOA and to stay in full compliance, so long as Iran does the same.
We are convinced that it is possible to quickly reach and implement an understanding on return to full compliance and to ensure for the long term that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes.
Return to JCPOA compliance will provide sanctions lifting with long-lasting implications for Iran’s economic growth. This will only be possible if Iran changes course. We call upon President Raisi to seize this opportunity and return to a good faith effort to conclude our negotiations as a matter of urgency. That is the only sure way to avoid a dangerous escalation, which is not in any country’s interest.
We welcome our Gulf partners’ regional diplomatic efforts to deescalate tensions and note that return to the JCPOA would result both in sanctions lifting allowing for enhanced regional partnerships and a reduced risk of a nuclear crisis that would derail regional diplomacy. We also affirm our shared determination to address broader security concerns raised by Iran’s actions in the region.
We are committed to continuing to work closely with the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China, and the European Union High Representative, as Coordinator, in resolving this critical issue.