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Biden says US won't lift Iran sanctions

February 7, 2021

The Iranian regime insists that lifting sanctions is a perquisite for its return to the 2015 deal, but the US president wants Tehran to first meet its nuclear commitments.

US President Joe Biden
Joe Biden had previously expressed interest in reviving the 2015 nuclear dealImage: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

US President Joe Biden confirmed Sunday that he would not lift sanctions against Iran until it complies with the nuclear deal.

Biden responded with a clear "No" when the television network CBS asked if the US would "lift sanctions first, in order to get Iran back to the negotiations table."

When further asked if lifting sanctions was conditional to Iran "first stop enriching uranium," Biden nodded in affirmation in the interview recorded on Friday.

Iran stopped adhering to its key nuclear commitments after the former US President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also referred to as the Iran nuclear deal, and reimposed sanctions on Tehran. 

In January, Iran announced lifting up its uranium enrichment process to 20% purity, bypassing the 3.67% level that was in the deal.

Hardt: JCPOA can be improved

Washington and Iran expressed interests in reviving the 2015 deal since Biden took office last month, but both parties insist on their own terms.

US lifts sanctions first, says Supreme Leader

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday that Iran receiving compensation from the US for Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal was not a "precondition" for reviving the agreement.

The Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had said on Sunday that Tehran would return to the 2015 nuclear deal if the US lifted all imposed sanctions

"If they want Iran to return to its commitments ... America must completely lift sanctions, and not just in words or on paper," Khamenei said in a televised address to air force commanders.

Khamenei's comments came the same day that the UN special envoy on Yemen visited Iran to support efforts to negotiate a political solution to the conflict considered by many to be a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

fb/shs (AFP, Reuters)

Iran defends plan to speed up uranium enrichment