Iran’s Zarif hints at way to bridge nuclear deal impasse

Washington (Reuters) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sketched out a path on Monday to overcome the U.S.-Iranian impasse over who goes first in returning to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, saying the EU foreign policy chief could “choreograph” the moves.

“There can be a mechanism to basically either synchronize it or coordinate what can be done,” Zarif told CNN when asked in an interview how to bridge the gap between Washington and Tehran. Each government wants the other to resume compliance first.

Zarif noted the agreement created a Joint Commission coordinated by the European Union foreign policy chief, now Josep Borrell. Borrell “can … sort of choreograph the actions that are needed to be taken by the United States and the actions that are needed to be taken by Iran,” Zarif told CNN.

The commission includes Iran and the six other parties to the deal: Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.

Under the accord, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program to make it harder for it to develop nuclear weapons in return for relief from U.S. and other economic sanctions.

Former U.S. president Donald Trump abandoned the deal in 2018 and reimposed U.S. sanctions. U.S. President Joe Biden has said that if Iran returns to strict compliance, Washington will too.