Biden’s Envoy Encourages Arab Partners to Talk With Iran, Contrary to Trump’s Position.
President Joe Biden’s envoy on Iran has pushed regional countries to interact with the Islamic Republic, reversing outgoing President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” approach on the diplomatic front.
“We would urge interaction among countries in the area, engagement with Iran, de-escalation,” US Special Representative for Iran Robert Malley said in an online chat with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on Wednesday.
Malley made the remarks after announcing that he would be visiting Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar to discuss ongoing talks aimed at bringing Washington and Tehran back into full compliance with a 2015 nuclear agreement signed by China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom as part of the P5+1 group.
The deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was scrapped by Trump three years later after he imposed tough sanctions on Iran that the agreement was supposed to lift in order to incentivize the country to reduce its nuclear production, and the US rallied regional allies to isolate the Islamic Republic. Iran has since increased its enrichment, which it claims is solely for peaceful purposes, escalating regional tensions.
Even as the US and Iran struggle to find common ground again after six rounds of indirect talks in Vienna, Austria, assisted by other nuclear deal signatories, covert diplomacy has developed between Iran and Arab states across the Persian Gulf, most notably Saudi Arabia.
Malley said there have been four rounds of talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and while he did not want to “overstate what has been achieved” between the rivals, “the fact that they’re talking, the fact that the Emirates and Iran have not only been talking but dealing with one another, those are things that we not only welcome, but we think that’s a good thing if it can be accompanied by a de-escalation, of course,”
He stressed that Washington was still watching to see how Tehran reacted to the region’s growing relations before making a final judgment.
“We’ll have to wait and see.” This is a condensed version of the information.