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The January 20 inauguration of President Joe Biden has raised expectations for a quick return to compliance by both the United States and Iran to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Biden administration officials have promised to rejoin the JCPOA if Iran returns to strict compliance with the agreement, but won’t be as simple as rolling back all sanctions imposed on Iran by the Trump administration.

The mosaic of new sanctions the Trump administration levied on Iran includes hundreds of new specific targets and new sectors, both primary and secondary. In “Rejoining the Iran Nuclear Deal: Not So Easy,” author Brian O’Toole, nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s GeoEconomics Center, defines several distinct buckets for the various sanctions, and explains how the Biden administration might choose to address each bucket.

The Atlantic Council’s Future of Iran Initiative and GeoEconomics Center invite you to a discussion of this paper and the prospects for US diplomacy with Iran under the Biden administration. The discussion will feature the author alongside Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association, Kenneth Katzman, senior analyst, Iran and the Persian Gulf at the Congressional Research Service, and Ali Vaez, Middle East fellow, Iran project director and senior advisor to the President at the International Crisis Group, and moderated by Ms. Barbara Slavin, director, Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council.

The discussion will be held via Zoom on January 28, 2021 from 12:00 – 1:00 pm ET.

A conversation with

Kelsey Davenport
Director, Nonproliferation Policy
Arms Control Association

Kenneth Katzman
Senior Analyst, Iran and the Persian Gulf
Congressional Research Service

Brian O’Toole
Nonresident Senior Fellow, GeoEconomics Center
Atlantic Council

Ali Vaez
Iran Project Director and Senior Advisor to the President
International Crisis Group

Moderated by

Barbara Slavin
Director, Future of Iran Initiative
Atlantic Council

Read the paper

Issue Brief

Jan 14, 2021

Rejoining the Iran nuclear deal: Not so easy

By Brian O’Toole

President-elect Joe Biden takes office on January 20, 2021, facing a litany of daunting foreign policy issues, from another massive cyber hack by Russian intelligence to alienated allies in Europe and beyond to a regime in Pyongyang that continues to proliferate weapons of mass destruction unchecked. But perhaps the stickiest—and most immediate—crisis the Biden administration […]

Economic Sanctions Economy & Business