Biden administration officials insist that the election of a hardliner as president of Iran will not affect the prospects for reopening the failed 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran. But there are already signs that their goal of a deal has become more difficult.
At the same time, optimism about the inevitability of a deal has faded, as the latest talks ended Sunday, June 20, with no tangible signs of significant progress.
That said, despite Raisi’s impending presidency, Biden administration officials insist that the prospects for an agreement are unchanged. They argue that Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who signed the 2015 agreement, will make any final decisions regardless of who is president.
However, an additional complication is that Raisi will be the first sitting president of Iran under U.S. government sanctions even before he takes office. This is a situation that could complicate state visits and speeches in international forums such as the UN.
In addition, experts say the administration has already given away “too much” in exchange for “too little,” signaling its desire to refute Trump’s rejection of the nuclear deal. And they say that even if Iran were to agree to some additional negotiations, that promise would be meaningless.