Reentering the Iran Nuclear Deal: Messaging Guidance


Last Updated on February 3, 2022.


  • Before Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal, the Iran deal worked. It limited Iran’s nuclear capabilities, empowered everyday Iranians, and laid the foundation for peace. It can work again.
  • President Biden’s efforts to re-enter the Iran Deal have been set back by the disastrous effects of Trump’s failed “maximum pressure” policy — which strengthened the positions of antidemocratic hardliners, immiserated millions through blanket sanctions, unfettered Iran’s nuclear capabilities, and nearly brought us to war.
  • This may be our last chance to act and rejoin the deal, which is a precondition to addressing all other challenges with Iran. Diplomacy is still the best — and only — proven path forward. Otherwise, we risk the path of war.

Additional Messaging:

  • The Iran nuclear deal was working as intended until the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew and reimposed suffocating sanctions on the people of Iran. It was this failed “maximum pressure” policy that allowed the Iranian government to take steps out of compliance.
  • The last four years are clear proof that “maximum pressure” is a maximum failure. Failing to return to the deal will only further empower hardliners and undermine Iranians fighting for change. That’s nothing short of a recipe for war.
  • Delaying a return to the deal only further harms everyday Iranians, who are suffering under twin crises of brutal sanctions and Covid-19. The collective punishment of the Iranian people at any time, not least during a pandemic, is cruel and ineffective.
  • The Iran nuclear deal cut off Iran’s pathway to a nuclear weapon. Iran’s steps out of compliance with the agreement following the U.S. withdrawal, like increasing its uranium enrichment levels, underscore how critical it is that the parties return to the deal.
  • Iran has expressed concern that the United States won’t stick to its commitments, as was the case when Trump withdrew from the deal. The Biden administration should continue to put diplomacy first, find creative solutions that work for all parties, and rebuild the relationships and credibility that Trump destroyed.
  • The Iran nuclear deal worked before and it will work again. It remains the best option on the table to build peace, constrain Iran’s nuclear capabilities, and empower everyday Iranians.
  • There is no room for delay: we must act swiftly to lift sanctions and return to the JCPOA in full.

Additional Resources:

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February 22, 2021