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The Sticky Issues Holding Up a New Iran Nuclear Deal

Hossein Amirabdollahian

Hossein Amirabdollahian

Photographer: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

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Reviving a landmark agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program could pave the way for the US to lift sanctions and allow Iranian energy exports back onto world markets. The talks have been hampered by a lack of trust as well as Iranian demands that Washington guarantee economic returns from a new accord, and that international monitors curtail an investigation into Tehran’s past nuclear activities. 

In 2018, former President Donald Trump’s administration unilaterally left the deal that had been agreed in 2015 and reimposed sanctions that severely reduced Iran’s oil exports. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told diplomats and defense officials at the Munich Security Conference in February that the world powers at the negotiating table must provide assurances that Iranians won’t be tricked into limiting their nuclear activities only to be trapped again under sanctions. Of the previous deal, he said, “It was the Americans who ruined it. It is now up to the Americans to resuscitate it.”