Iran’s parliament passed a law that blocks IAEA inspections, but both sides on Sunday said “necessary verification and monitoring activities” will be able to continue for up to three months.
Tan Feng Qin of the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute said Iran is aware that preventing inspections could have disadvantages.
The three-month reprieve “gives some space and some time for the U.S. and Iran to try to work out the solution to the sequencing problem,” he told CNBC’s “Capital Connection.”
Goldberg also remains optimistic that a deal can be reached.
“All that you’re seeing, all the threats, the terrorism, threats in the Gulf, the seizing of tankers, the nuclear program, taking hostages, these are all various extortion tactics to get money and get sanctions relief,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Monday. “That means that a deal is possible.”
Iran’s foreign ministry did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Sanctions hurting Iran’s economy
Heavy sanctions on Iran — imposed by the Trump administration after it withdrew from the 2015 agreement — have been devastating for Tehran’s economy.
“They are suffering under the sanctions that President Trump imposed, the so-called maximum pressure campaign,” Goldberg said.
“Clearly, they need access to money, they need sanctions relief, and they want to drive a crisis to try to force Biden’s hand to get into some sort of talks that includes sanctions relief,” he added.
However, questions remain over what the deal will look like.
Iran has said that its violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) are reversible and can be walked back. But Goldberg disagreed.
“There are a lot of steps that are not reversible,” he said. “The technical know-how they have acquired testing advanced centrifuges, that is something that we can’t put back into the bottle.”
He also pointed out that the deal came with expiration dates for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program.
“Since [the JCPOA is] already five years old, we’re not into the period where the deal is to Iran’s advantage anyway, and so that is a big question mark of whether the Biden administration and their European and Asian allies would want to go back to a deal or simply hold out and negotiate a new deal,” he said.