President Joe Biden and his Administration have reportedly reopened talks with Iran in an attempt to free hostages and restart nuclear program de-escalation, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The talks break from previous U.S. policy, which relied on pressuring Iran to release the hostages. Washington “approved 2.5 billion euros, equivalent to $2.7 billion, in payments by the Iraqi government for Iranian electricity and gas imports,” which U.S. sanctions had previously blocked, according to the WSJ report. US officials have reportedly denied that the approval is related to the talks.
Tehran has asked for “billions of dollars in Iranian energy revenue trapped abroad by U.S. sanctions” in return for releasing hostages and accepting nuclear program limitations, via WSJ. (RELATED: Biden Quietly Waives Sanctions On Iran’s Nuclear Program)
Former President Donald Trump and his administration ended a previous nuclear deal with Iran in 2018, instituting the current sanctions on the state. Since then, Iran’s nuclear program has gathered nuclear-weapons-grade uranium, enough capable of building at least two nuclear weapons.
Biden’s policy on Iran has been to de-escalate tensions without removing sanctions, starting discussions last summer that ultimately fell short. Recent US payments to Iran and other Islamic states are “hard to separate… from a context in which Washington is looking to de-escalate tensions across the board with Iran,” Henry Rome, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute, told the Wall Street Journal.
— Department of State (@StateDept) June 5, 2023
Iran has supposedly hinted at de-escalation and a willingness to comport to the UN International Atomic Energy agency in some capacity.
On Monday, “[Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri-Kani met in Abu Dhabi with senior officials from Britain, France and Germany,” the countries whicb helped facilitate the previous nuclear deal under former President Barack Obama’s administration, according to the WSJ.