International tensions over an international nuclear deal are our first subject today. The Middle Eastern country of Iran has a nuclear program that other countries want to stop.
Iran has said its nuclear research is for peaceful purposes like electricity. The United States and several other countries around the world don't think that's the truth. They're concerned Iran is using its technology to try to build a nuclear weapon. Over the years, there've been a number of efforts to pressure the Middle Eastern country to stop its nuclear program.
The United States imposed sanctions, penalties on Iran's economy to try to get the country to change course. But in 2015, the U.S. led six other nations in a controversial agreement with Iran. These countries removed their economic sanctions allowing tens of billions of dollars to flow into Iran and in exchange that country agreed to limit its nuclear program for 15 years and allow international inspectors to verify it was living up to its promise. At the time, the U.S. government was led by President Barack Obama. His administration said the deal was the best way to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons.
Critics called it a bad deal saying it didn't go far enough because Iran would eventually build them anyway. One of those critics was America's next president Donald Trump. He announced in 2018 that the U.S. was leaving the agreement and reinstating it's economic penalties on Iran. At first, the Middle Eastern country said it would honor its commitment to the deal with the five other nations involved but in recent years, Iran has not been doing that. And it said this week it would no longer cooperate with certain inspections of its nuclear facilities.
However, Iran also suggested its decision could be changed if the United States once again removes it's sanctions on the Middle Eastern country.
Analysts say this is all meant to put pressure on the Biden Administration. President Joe Biden, who was vice-president under Barack Obama, wants to restart negotiations with Iran. And while the U.S. and Iran have both said it's up to the other country to make the first move, the Biden Administration suggested last week that it is open to holding talks with Iran even before any changes are made.