Biden will seek to reenter Iran nuclear deal within months, former aide says

Amos Hochstein tells Israeli TV rejoining the agreement is a top priority for the US-president elect; report says Trump planning flurry of sanctions to make move harder

8 November 2020

A former senior aide to Joe Biden said rejoining the Iran nuclear deal was “high on his agenda” and that the US president-elect would move to do so shortly after taking office.

“I believe that in the first months [of Biden’s presidency], we’ll either see him rejoin the deal fully, or what I would call ‘JCPOA-minus,’ meaning lifting sanctions in exchange for suspending some of the Iranian nuclear programs [developed] in the past three years,” Amos Hochstein said Sunday in an interview in Hebrew with Channel 12 news

Hochstein, who served at the State Department and oversaw energy sanctions on Iran during former president Barack Obama’s tenure, said Biden wants “some changes” to the pact clinched in 2015 — and abandoned by US President Donald Trump in 2018 — including its expiration date.

The comments came as an Israeli news site reported the Trump administration — in coordination with Israel and Arab states in the Persian Gulf — was planning a bevy of wide-ranging sanctions on Iran to make it more difficult for the incoming administration to reenter the nuclear deal, which was negotiated when Biden served as vice president under Obama.