Iran nuclear program
Iran nuclear programiStock

The Biden administration may have to face the fact that it is not realistic to return to the Iran nuclear deal as Iran discovers ways around US sanctions and continues its drive to become a nuclear power.

After months of discussions on talks to re-enter the deal have failed to make headway, US officials are reportedly reviewing their next steps, reported Bloomberg.

While the Biden admin is still publicly pushing for a renewed nuclear deal as a way forward, the White House is beginning to look at other options, including limited sanctions relief in exchange for Iran pausing some of its nuclear program linked to weapons research.

The possible change in approach is a response to increased tensions between the US and Iran after the inauguration last week of Iran’s new president, Ebrahim Raisi, a hardliner, along with multiple incidents, including rocket attacks by Iranian proxy Hezbollah on Israel and an attack on an oil tanker near the coast of Oman that was managed by Zodiac Maritime, a company owned by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer, in which Romanian and British citizens were killed. The attack is being blamed on Iran, although it denies involvement.

The incident sent a shockwave through oil markets at the end of July.

A failure to return to the nuclear deal would be considered a blow to President Joe Biden, who had made a return to the accord one of his key foreign policy initiatives. Former President Donald Trump left the deal in 2018 and and imposed additional sanctions on Iran.

The Biden administration has held six rounds of discussions with Iran in Vienna and has not made any significant breakthroughs so far. A timeline for a seventh talk has not been set.

The inability of the White House to move discussions forward is dimming the hopes of some that Iran will agree to further negotiations in the near future, especially for a potential larger deal that would include the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile program and its funding of terrorist groups.

“We urge Iran to return to the negotiation soon so that we can seek to conclude our work,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, according to Bloomberg. “The opportunity to achieve a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA won’t last forever.”