Hillary Clinton believes that the United States should rejoin the Iran nuclear deal, rather than kill it outright as Donald Trump has tried to do.
“I think it would be in the United States’ interest to rejoin the Iran agreement, just as it would be to rejoin the [Paris] climate agreement,” the former secretary of state said during an Atlantic Council Front Page event broadcast on Monday.
She added that Washington should also attempt to “put that lid back” on Iran’s nuclear weapons programme – which Iran says doesn’t exist.
Clinton conceded that Iran might not be “receptive” to any new limits on its nuclear ambitions, though neither does it want to have US sanctions in place.
Joe Biden last year promised to rejoin the original deal, saying he would find a way to “strengthen and extend it”. The idea is strongly opposed by Israel.
Biden’s foreign policy advisor, Antony Blinken, said this May that Iran “would have to come back into full compliance with its obligations under the existing agreement.
He added that a Biden administration would then lift the sanctions but would use that “as a platform” to forge a new accord.
Donald Trump quit the hard-fought 2015 agreement, which lifted international sanctions in exchange for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear programme and intensive inspections, in May 2018, after intense lobbying from Israel.
The US claimed, despite no evidence from international inspectors and objections from Iran, that the Islamic Republic had continued to develop nuclear weapons in violation of the deal. He unleashed crippling economic sanctions, prompting Iran to lift all limits on uranium enrichment, effectively ending its commitments.
As the 18 October deadline approaches for the lifting of the United Nations’ arms sales embargo on Iran, the Trump administration has tried to extend the ban via a Security Council vote, which turned into a humiliating defeat for the US.
Trump then threatened to trigger the so-called “snapback” mechanism, which allows any participant of the agreement to renew United Nations sanctions. The idea has found no support among other world powers, and experts have questioned the legal grounds for such a move given that the US has withdrawn from the pact. Trump vowed to use the provision as early as this week, potentially setting up a diplomatic crisis at the Security Council.