Tehran is signaling that it plans to re-enter Vienna nuclear talks within the "next few weeks" after the negotiations have been stalled since June, which has lately left Biden admin officials in doubt over whether a deal is salvageable at this point.
Iran’s newly installed President Ebrahim Raisi is set to address Tuesday's United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) via video feed, given he's currently under Washington human rights sanctions, making physical travel to UN headquarters in New York complicated.
US President Joe Biden, meanwhile, in his speech before the UNGA said that he's offering a full return to the deal "if Iran does the same".
Biden didn't spend much time on Iran in his speech, with critics lambasting him for not using the occasion to go after the Iranian regime on human rights and a track record of oppression. Biden's key line in the Tuesday speech was as follows:
"The United States remains committed to preventing Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon. We are working with the P5+1 to engage Iran diplomatically and seek a return to the JCPOA. We are prepared to return to full compliance if Iran does the same."
Within the past weeks there were unconfirmed reports that Iran and world powers could hold negotiations on the sidelines of this week's UN meeting; however, Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh denied that full multi-lateral talks would take place.
"Iran has no plans to hold multilateral talks during the UN summit," Khatibzadeh clarified, but there may be talks with individual mediating powers separately.
Today @IranIntl caught trucks protesting #Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and members of his administration in Manhattan as he prepares to address #UNGA. It’s the most sanctioned and wanted administration since 1979. pic.twitter.com/jxv4MwdBW4— Jason Brodsky (@JasonMBrodsky) September 21, 2021
Meanwhile, Raisi's newly appointed negotiating team is expected to hold a firmer line compared to the prior "moderates" under former president Rouhani:
A seasoned Iranian diplomat, who was a member of Iran's nuclear negotiations team in the 2010s under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, says new appointments at the Foreign Ministry signal a tougher negotiating posture in nuclear talks.
Washington has in a slow, piecemeal way already relaxed some Trump-era sanctions on Iran, but it's been Tehran's consistent position that a restored JCPOA deal is not possible unless an immediate full rollback is in effect.