“I think it’s fair to say that the decision to pull out of the nuclear agreement was one of the worst decisions made in recent US foreign policy history,” Blinken stated on Wednesday.
In 2018, however, Washington pulled out of the pact and reinstated sanctions under the so-called ‘maximum pressure campaign’ against Tehran, effectively depriving Iran of the deal’s benefits by forcing third parties to stop doing business with Iran.
Iran remained patient for an entire year, after which it began to take incremental steps away from its nuclear obligations, especially after Europeans failed to salvage the deal under the US pressure.
Blinken noted even the previous administration announced that Iran was making good on its commitments.
“One of the things that Iran has asked for is guarantees that we won’t pull the rug out again… In our system you can’t provide that kind of hard and fast guarantee,” the top diplomat added.
Iran insists that the nuclear talks must lead to the removal of all American sanctions that were imposed against Tehran following Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the landmark agreement in May 2018. Tehran has also demanded credible guarantees that Washington will not abandon the deal again.
“President [Joe] Biden can certainly say what he would or wouldn’t do as president as long as Iran remains in compliance with the agreement, but we can’t bind future presidents,” Blinken continued.
US and European diplomats say the demand, a reaction to former President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the accord, appears to be a paramount political objective for the government of Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi. They added they don’t believe the demand is designed by Iran to simply drag out the talks.