Lifting sanctions by US, precondition to reversal of nuclear steps: Iran

Turkey pins hope US will rejoin Iran nuclear deal

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Tehran will not accept US demands that it reverse an acceleration of its nuclear program before Washington lifts sanctions, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Friday.

The demand “is not practical and will not happen”, he said at a joint news conference in Istanbul with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.

The new administration of US President Joe Biden has said Tehran must resume compliance with curbs on its nuclear activity under the world powers’ 2015 deal before it can rejoin the pact.

Iran breached the terms of the accord in a step-by-step response to the decision by Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump to abandon the deal in 2018 and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.

Earlier this month, Iran resumed enriching uranium to 20% at its underground Fordow nuclear plant — a level it achieved before the accord.

However, Iran has said it can quickly reverse those violations if US sanctions are removed.

Turkey hopes the United States will return to the nuclear deal with Iran under US President Joe Biden’s administration, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif in Istanbul, Cavusoglu said Turkey would also like to see sanctions imposed on Iran lifted.

“I hope that with the Biden administration, the United States return to this agreement and cooperation on the (nuclear) issue is restored,” Cavusoglu said. “In this way, God willing, the sanctions and embargoes imposed on brotherly Iran are lifted.”

Former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Iran’s nuclear deal in 2018. Under the deal, Tehran had agreed to limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

After the US then ramped up sanctions, Iran gradually and publicly abandoned the deal’s limits on its nuclear development. Iranian state TV reported Thursday that Iran has exceeded 17 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium within a month, moving its nuclear program closer to weapons-grade enrichment levels.

Biden, who was vice president when the deal was signed during the Obama administration, has said he hopes to return the US to the deal.

 

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