Iran on Friday called on the new US administration to “unconditionally” lift the sanctions Donald Trump had imposed on the Islamic Republic in order to save the 2015 nuclear deal and warned against any concessions.
Just two days after US President Joe Biden took office, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif published a comment on Tehran’s view of saving the deal in the US foreign affairs magazine.
The deal has been largely shattered since former President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew in 2018 and imposed harsh sanctions on Iran under a policy of “maximum pressure”.
The agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed between Iran, the United States, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and Germany.
It offered sanction relief in exchange for curtailing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and guaranteed that it would not seek an atomic bomb. Iran has claimed it was only pursuing a civil nuclear energy program.
“The new administration in Washington must make a fundamental decision,” wrote Zarif, who is considered one of the architects of the 2015 nuclear deal, in the statement.
“It can include the Trump administration’s failed policies,” or Biden “can choose a better path by ending Trump’s failed” maximum pressure “policy and going back to the deal his predecessor abandoned,” he added.
“But if Washington insists on making concessions instead, that opportunity will be lost.”
– “Collective Efforts” –
The sanctions were aimed at the sale of vital oil and Iran’s international banking relationships and put its economy into a deep recession.
Since 2019, Iran has suspended compliance with most of the limits set by the agreement in response to Washington abandoning sanctions easing and viewing Tehran as Europe’s inaction to reap the economic benefits of the JCPOA.
The Iranian government has signaled its readiness to deal with Biden, who took office on January 20 and has expressed his willingness to return to diplomacy with Tehran.
Biden’s election as Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, said at a Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday that Trump’s policies had made Iran “more dangerous”.
Blinken confirmed Biden’s desire for Washington to return to the nuclear deal, but said it was contingent on Tehran’s return to strict compliance with its commitments.
However, Tehran has insisted that Washington must first lift all sanctions and return to its own JCPOA commitments.
“Biden’s new administration can still save the nuclear deal, but only if it can muster the real political will in Washington to demonstrate that the United States is ready to be a real partner in collective efforts,” Zarif wrote .
“The government should begin removing all sanctions that have been imposed, re-imposed or redesignated since Trump took office with full effect,” he added.
“In return, Iran would undo any remedial measures it took after Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal.”
– ‘Revenge’ Tweet –
Iran has claimed that if the sanctions were lifted, it would return to full compliance with the deal and would benefit from the economic relief it expects under the JCPOA.
Biden, along with Paris and Berlin, has expressed a desire to negotiate more fully with Iran, particularly over its missile program and regional influence.
In his statement, Zarif pointed out that Iran was not open to further negotiations, which was made clear in the title of the statement: “Iran wants the nuclear deal it has signed. Don’t ask Tehran to meet new demands.”
“The Iranians are running out of patience,” wrote Zarif. This emerges from the legislation passed by parliament in December which obliges Tehran to “promote uranium enrichment and limit inspections by the United Nations (International Atomic Energy Agency) if the sanctions are not lifted by February”.
In a sign that tensions between Iran and the US remain high, a Twitter account associated with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei posted a tweet Thursday seeking revenge for the famous boss’s death for Foreign Operations, General Qasem Soleimani, and his Iraqi Lieutenant Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who were killed in a Trump-ordered drone attack in Iraq in 2020.
“Revenge is inevitable. Soleimani’s killer and the man who gave the orders must take revenge,” it said, accompanied by a photo montage of Trump playing golf in the shadow of a fighter plane.
“Revenge can take place at any time.”
Twitter later suspended the account, saying it broke its rules.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)