Iran Restarts Nuclear Talks

Iran’s Shargh newspaper reported April 22 that Iran is engaging in nuclear talks. According to Shargh, Iranian ambassador to the United Nations Amir Saeed Iravani has been negotiating with the United States to resurrect the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Shargh also claims the U.S. has appointed Abram Paley as the acting special envoy for Iran. On Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian mentioned nuclear talks occurred while he visited New York earlier that week.

The context: The news comes after Israel struck air defenses on Friday. These may have been guarding nearby nuclear facilities.

Many in the global community worry an all-out war between Israel and Iran could erupt. Iran seems to be playing on these fears to kick-start nuclear negotiations.

[T]he leadership in Tehran wants to use the recent military conflict with arch-enemy Israel as leverage to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (jcpoa) nuclear agreement, negotiated under former U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration. In return for a deescalation demanded by the West, there will be new nuclear negotiations. The aim is to lift the sanctions that are paralyzing Iran.
—German Press Agency

Or it could be that Israel’s attack showed Iran that its nuclear infrastructure is vulnerable, causing Iran to scramble.

Will Iran get a deal? Without a nuclear deal, Iran openly speeds toward a nuclear weapon. With a deal, Iran’s progress may slow while it gains billions of dollars in sanctions relief.

Iran would use such funds to fund its proxies—such as Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis—while nuclear advancements continue under the table. Iran has everything to gain from getting a new nuclear deal.

The U.S. and Iran had reportedly agreed on an informal deal months before the Oct. 7, 2023, massacre. The deal’s current status is ambiguous, but the current talks could build on its details.

Learn more: Why is Iran’s nuclear program relevant today? Read “Explained: The New Iran Nuclear Deal.”