Germany hopes for joint transatlantic approach on Iran under Biden: diplomat

·2 min read
An Iranian flag flutters in front of the IAEA headquarters in Vienna

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany sees a chance to return to a joint transatlantic approach in tackling Iran's nuclear programme once the new U.S. administration under President-elect Joe Biden takes office, a German official said on Monday.

In May 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump quit a deal with Tehran that sought to limit Iran's nuclear programme to prevent it from developing atomic weapons in return for the easing of economic sanctions.

While the United States restored sanctions and announced a "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran, the other signatories - Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China - upheld the agreement with Tehran.

"With the new U.S. administration taking office next year, we will get the opportunity to again use the JCPOA (the nuclear deal with Iran) for what it was meant for - to curtail Iran's nuclear programme," a German diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Seeing how Iran increasingly violates its nuclear obligations, this is urgently needed," he added after a meeting of the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Britain in Berlin for talks on Iran.

The diplomat said the three European countries, known as the E3, were preparing for a period of intensive diplomacy, knowing they would be facing difficult negotiations.

A spokeswoman of the foreign office in Paris said after the meeting France remained determined to ensure Iran could never acquire nuclear weapons and would continue efforts to preserve the nuclear deal that played an important role in this regard.

Biden, who will take office on Jan. 20, has said he will rejoin the agreement if Iran first resumes strict compliance and will work with allies "to strengthen and extend it, while more effectively pushing back against Iran's other destabilising activities".

(Reporting by Sabine Siebold in Berlin and John Irish in Paris; Editing by Michael Nienaber, Giles Elgood and Grant McCool)