Joe Biden
Joe BidenReuters

US President-elect Joe Biden reiterated his intention to return to the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, provided that the Islamic Republic returns to compliance with it.

In an interview with the New York Times, Biden was asked whether he stood by his views on the Iran nuclear deal as articulated in an essay published on CNN’s website in September and replied, “It’s going to be hard, but yeah.”

“Look, there’s a lot of talk about precision missiles and all range of other things that are destabilizing the region,” Biden said, adding that “the best way to achieve getting some stability in the region” is to deal “with the nuclear program.”

If Iran gets a nuclear bomb, he warned, it would put enormous pressure on the Saudis, Turkey, Egypt and others to get nuclear weapons themselves. “And the last thing we need in that part of the world is a buildup of nuclear capability.”

“In consultation with our allies and partners, we’re going to engage in negotiations and follow-on agreements to tighten and lengthen Iran’s nuclear constraints, as well as address the missile program,” said Biden, who added that the US always has the option to snap back sanctions if need be.

Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal in response to US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May of 2018.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said recently that Iran would fully implement the deal if Biden lifts the sanctions that have been imposed on the Islamic Republic.