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Will Joe Biden return to the nuclear deal with Iran?

Many experts believe that Iran will pose the "biggest foreign policy challenge" to new President Joe Biden in the Middle East.

Donald Trump, who left office on January 20, worked to blow up the 2015 multinational deal to contain Iran’s nuclear program.

Will Biden return to the nuclear deal with Iran?

It is expected that Biden will assemble a team of negotiators to get back into the 2015 nuclear deal.

President Barack Obama's nuclear deal offered Iran relief from sanctions in exchange for Iran accepting limits on its nuclear material and gear.

“His ability to move the needle is ... I think hampered by the doubt about America’s capacity and by the skepticism and worry about what comes after Biden,” said Vali Nasr, a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

Incoming Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman admitted the difficulties in an interview with a Boston news show before her nomination.

“We’re going to work hard at this, because we have lost credibility, we are seen as weaker” after Trump, said Sherman, who was Obama’s lead US negotiator for the 2015 agreement.

She was speaking of US foreign objectives overall, including Iran.

When he was a presidential candidate Biden said he would "offer Tehran a credible path back to diplomacy," according to CNN.

"If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations."

What did Iran President Hassan Rouhani say about Biden?

Iran President Hassan Rouhani said on January 20 that the ball was "in the US court now," according to CNN.

"If Washington returns to Iran's 2015 nuclear deal, we will also fully respect our commitments under the pact," said Rouhani.

He also took a jab at Donald Trump on Inauguration Day, saying, "a tyrant's era came to an end and today is the final day of his ominous reign."

How will the negotiations play out?

It is impossible to predict how the talks will go, but Iran will be Biden's "biggest foreign policy challenge" in the Middle East, according to the non-profit United States Institute of Peace.

"Both countries have said that they want 'compliance for compliance' - after the other one acts. So, who goes first?," the institute writes.

"Biden wants Tehran to roll back its uranium enrichment and reduce its stockpile; Iran wants Washington to lift sanctions.

"How does this all play out before Iran closes down for Nowruz in mid-March, then launches its presidential campaign season in April for an election in June?

The institute also cautions there are other other US "flashpoints" with Iran: the country's growing arsenal of missiles, its meddling in the Middle East, support for extremist proxies, and human rights abuses.

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