Prospects for a revival of the Iran nuclear deal, which seemed dim even a week ago, now suddenly seem brighter. Hope isn’t the healthiest attitude to bring to world politics—it’s crushed so often and so cruelly—but there are reasons for some optimism.
The biggest one is that senior diplomats from the countries that are still party to the deal—Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, and Iran—will meet in Vienna on Tuesday to discuss ways to return to the deal. These would include terms under which Iran dismantles its nuclear activities and the other countries lift their sanctions.
Nobody from the Biden administration will take part in this meeting directly, as the United States under President Trump withdrew from the deal. But “separate contacts” will be made with the U.S., according to a statement released by the other countries’ diplomats—including Iran’s—after a meeting they held on Friday.
The statement noted that the “participants recognized the prospect of a full return of the U.S. to the JCPOA”—meaning the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name for the Iran nuclear deal—“and emphasized their commitment to preserve the JCPOA…and…ensure the return to its full and effective implementation.”
After the statement’s