Who goes first? Biden’s first JCPOA hurdle | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Who goes first? Biden’s first JCPOA hurdle

He’s only been president for a bit more than a week, but Joe Biden’s promise to return to the 2015 nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) with Iran has already hit a roadblock. While the United States and Iran both publicly favor returning to the nuclear deal, they both also insist that the other must take the first step. As heated as some of the rhetoric has been between the two sides, the “who goes first” problem has been prevalent throughout diplomacy on Iran’s nuclear program, so there are nonetheless good reasons to remain calm.

Both Washington and Tehran have accepted a mechanism for restoring the JCPOA: compliance for compliance. It is as simple and straightforward as it gets. Both sides simply comply with all of their JCPOA obligations with no preconditions. The Iranians drop their insistence that Washington compensate Tehran for having breached the deal in the first place, and the U.S. side refrains from using Donald Trump’s sanctions as “leverage” to extract concessions from Iran before returning to the deal. Once both are in compliance with the deal, negotiations over disagreements and changes to the deal can begin.

As simple as this formula is, however, it doesn’t resolve the question of who should take the first step.

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