US Senators back nuclear talks with Iran in letter
The letter expressed support for the ending of sanctions against Tehran if it returns to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) by adhering to the deal’s restrictions on its nuclear activities.
It also slammed Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” stance on Iran, with the senators saying this “has brought Iran closer to the capacity to develop nuclear weapons.”
Senators Tim Kaine and Chris Murphy led on the letter and were joined by prominent figures like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Diane Feinstein.
Signatories said they were “encouraged” by the indirect talks between the US and Iran in the Austrian capital Vienna.
They added that returning to the Iran nuclear deal should be "one of [Biden's] early pressing national security priorities."
The talks are also being attended by the other five parties to the JCPOA: China, France, Germany, Russia and the UK.
The 2015 JCPOA stipulated that Western sanctions against Iran would be lifted if it agreed to limit its enrichment of uranium and other nuclear activities.
The Kaine-Murphy letter followed a previous, more hawkish letter signed by Democratic and Republican senators supported by the pro-Israeli lobbying group AIPAC.
That letter, delivered last month, urged Biden to ensure that any potential agreement with Iran goes beyond the nuclear issue and tackles other Iranian activities, including its ballistic missile capabilities.
Robert Casey, a US Senator from Pennsylvania, signed up to both letters.
Trump cancelled the US’s involvement in the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and resumed sanctions against Tehran’s economic operations.
“This was a horrible, one-sided deal,” Trump said at the time
In response, Iran began to increasingly enrich uranium at levels exceeding those permitted by the 2015 deal.
On Tuesday, Iran announced that it would enrich uranium to 60% following a suspected Israeli sabotage attack on its nuclear facility in Natanz. The JCPOA deal only allows it to enrich to a level of 3.67%.
Media reports have said that an Israeli “cyber operation” could have caused the damage to the Natanz facility last Sunday.