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The Imperative Need to Revive the JCPOA



A crucial development that has the potential to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), more generally known as the Iran nuclear deal, is the recent announcement that Iran is reducing the amount of enriched uranium it produces and thinning out its current stockpile. The Biden administration has a window of opportunity to restart diplomatic talks with Iran as a result of Tehran's action.


The initial Iran nuclear deal, negotiated in 2015, sought to reduce Iran's nuclear aspirations in exchange for the lifting of sanctions. Donald Trump, who was president at the time, unilaterally withdrew the US from the pact in 2018, which set off a sequence of growing tensions between the two countries. Iran then increased the output of 60% enriched uranium as part of its nuclear enrichment programme in response.


The announcement that Iran is reducing its production of 60% enriched uranium is encouraging evidence that Teheran is ready to engage in diplomatic negotiations and return to JCPOA compliance. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an unbiased nuclear monitoring organisation, has validated this development.


There is no proof that Iran is actively working towards nuclear weapons, despite the fact that its enrichment programme has grown in reaction to American sanctions. This decrease in uranium enrichment presents a chance for revitalised diplomacy. It implies that Iran might have achieved a "low bar" for de-escalation, paving the way for talks.


There are several compelling reasons why the JCPOA must be resurrected diplomatically:


The Middle East would see more stability if the JCPOA were to be resurrected. The agreement would place strict restrictions on Iran's nuclear program, lessening the risk of an arms race and the danger of nuclear proliferation.


The JCPOA's clauses would prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. By agreeing to the deal again, Iran would continue to be subject to international inspections and verifications, giving the world confidence in Iran's aspirations to develop peaceful nuclear power.


Iran, which has suffered due to sanctions, would gain economically from the easing of restrictions under the JCPOA. This might therefore result in better living conditions for common Iranians and open doors for trade and investment. Renewing the JCPOA would offer a diplomatic framework for resolving more general problems in U.S.-Iran relations, like proxy wars and regional conflicts.


Despite the advantages, resurrecting the JCPOA will be difficult for the Biden administration because of strong resistance. These difficulties include opposition inside the Democratic Party itself, opposition from US allies like Israel, and opposition within Congress. Some claim that any talks with Iran should be cautiously undertaken and linked to resolving other hot-button problems, such as Iran's regional actions and missile program.


Nonetheless, diplomacy remains the most viable path to address the complex issues surrounding Iran's nuclear program and improve US-Iran relations. The Biden administration should seize this opportunity to pursue a renewed JCPOA with vigilance and diplomacy.


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