EXCLUSIVE: Jake Sullivan on the Iran Nuclear Deal

Read Transcript EXPAND

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Tell me about how you think reviving the Iran Nuclear Deal is going to go. What`s the choreography going to look like?

JAKE SULLIVAN: U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Well, Christiane, the first and most important thing for us to communicate is that we believe diplomacy has to be part of the answer of solving the Iranian nuclear issue, and that means being prepared to sit down at the table with the permanent five members of the security council, plus Germany and Iran to talk about how we get Iran back in to compliance with the terms of the joint comprehensive plan of action. So President Biden directed us to agree to the invitation by the European Union to join a meeting at a date to be determined where we can begin those discussions. We`re at an early stage here, it`s going to take work, it`s going to take hard headed clear-eyed diplomacy, and ultimately it`s going to take a decision by Iran that they are prepared to take the steps required to assure the world, and to prove to the world that their program is for exclusively peaceful purposes.

AMANPOUR: Steps by Iran to do that, clearly, and steps by the United States to meet its obligations. Because as the U.S. which is in contravention and came out of that deal, and Iran is calling for sanctions to be lifted. Is there any mechanism for synchronicity? And obviously I`m asking you because you were there at the origin story – you were there at the beginning of the first Iran Nuclear Deal negotiations. And it was – if it`s hard now, it was really hard back then. Do you see any diplomatic way to be able to – both of you get back in to compliance?

SULLIVAN: Well, what we have said repeatedly is that the United States is prepared to come back in to compliance with its terms if Iran comes back in to compliance with its terms under the deal. And frankly, Christiane, one of our concerns right now is that Iran is presently threatening to move even further out of compliance, to refuse to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the work it`s trying to do to ensure that nothing in Iran`s program is being used for weapons purposes. So I think the first order of business here would be for the Iranians to take the decision to stop the process of moving further out of compliance, and then I do believe that there is a diplomatic pathway to getting to an ultimate agreement in which we can all have confidence that Iran`s nuclear program has a lid on it – the kind of lid that was on it when we were actually all in the joint comprehensive plan of action together.

About This Episode EXPAND

Reviving the Iran Nuclear Deal is a major priority for the Biden administration, and the White House has now announced it is ready to engage in talks with Iran. Jake Sullivan held top foreign policy positions under President Obama and played a key role in hammering out the original deal. He now serves as President Biden’s national security advisor and joins the show from the White House.