Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani declared Sunday that the U.S. has been defeated in its “economic war” against his country, saying that sanctions are at the “brink of termination.” Meanwhile, a top official from the administration of President Joe Biden reiterated that there is “no deal” yet and that negotiations between the two countries are ongoing.
Biden promised during his presidential campaign that he would work to return the U.S. and Iran to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal—which was approved under former Democratic President Barack Obama. Trump campaigned in 2016 against the international accord, withdrawing the U.S. from the treaty in 2018 despite the strong objections of European allies. Currently, Iranian and American officials are negotiating indirectly regarding the future of the JCPOA in Vienna, Austria.
“With the enemy’s defeat in the economic war and the sanctions coming closer to the brink of termination considering the recent [JCPOA] negotiations, there are hopes that the country’s economy would return to the course of balance and boom of the years 2014 to 2017,” Rouhani said in a Sunday meeting, according to Iran’s Tasnim News Agency.
While the Iranian president suggested that his country was about to come out on top in the ongoing negotiations, the Biden administration asserted that there is “no deal” at the present time.
“There is no deal now,” Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan told ABC News’ This Week.
“There’s still a fair distance to travel to close the remaining gaps, and those gaps are over what sanctions the United States and other countries will roll back,” Sullivan continued. “They are over what nuclear restrictions Iran will accept on its program to ensure that they can never get a nuclear weapon.”
The JCPOA, which was implemented in 2016, was initially approved by the Obama administration—while Biden was vice president—in coordination with the European Union, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, China and Russia. The deal offered Iran international investment and sanctions relief in exchange for the Persian Gulf nation curbing its nuclear program. Although the United Nations nuclear watchdog consistently verified that Iran remained in compliance with the treaty, Trump withdrew from the accord in 2018 and reimplemented financial sanctions against the country.
Trump’s animosity to the international deal drew the ire of European allies, who continued to view the JCPOA as the best way to keep Iran from constructing a nuclear weapon. In an attempt at showing good faith, Iran remained in compliance with the deal for a year after the implementation of renewed U.S. sanctions. The country then began to steadily step back from its commitments until early 2020, when it said it would no longer abide by the JCPOA’s restrictions unless the U.S. returned to compliance.
Newsweek reached out to the State Department for comment but did not immediately receive a response.