Iran on Sunday rejected an invitation from both the United States and the European Union (EU) to discuss the 2015 nuclear deal or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as it is officially called. Tehran’s statement that the United States must first return to the agreement and lift all sanctions is a major loss for the Biden administration. 

“Considering the recent actions and statements by the United States and three European powers, Iran does not consider this the time to hold an informal meeting with these countries, which was proposed by the EU foreign policy chief,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said, according to Tehran’s ISNA state-run news media.

“Iran will not respond to “gestures” and will not be intimidated by criticism from the U.S. and Europe,” he added but said that Tehran would still continue to collaborate with European Union chief diplomat Josep Borrell, as well as France, Germany, the U.K., China, and Russia, the other signatories of JCPOA.

The White House said that while they were disappointed with Iran’s refusal to meet, they remain hopeful that all of the signatories of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), will soon meet. 

“While we are disappointed at Iran’s response, we remain ready to reengage in meaningful diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to compliance with JCPOA commitments,” a senior Biden administration official said to NBC News.

 “We will be consulting with our P5+1 partners on the best way forward,” the official added referring to JCPOA signatories.

The JCPOA was agreed to in 2015 under former President Barack Obama. It limited Iran’s nuclear program and its desire to build nuclear weapons for several years.

The Iranians have always denied that they seek nuclear weapons. However, the Israeli Mossad conducted a large operation through which they somehow acquired 110,000 documents of the Iranian nuclear ambitions that painted a very different picture.