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29 Jan 2021 | 09:58

Iran will not reverse nuclear steps unless US first lifts sanctions

(Sharecast News) - Iran will not reverse the acceleration of its nuclear programme until Washington lifts economic sanctions, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Friday. At a press conference in Istanbul, Zarif said the demand "is not practical and will not happen".

The comments come after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in his first news conference on Wednesday that the sanctions on Iran will remain in place for some time.

Both sides are waiting for the other to concede first and return to the 2015 nuclear deal which Washington exited during the Trump administration.

Blinken said the US is a "long way" from the point of fulfilling President Joe Biden's campaign pledge to rejoin the deal, which is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), if Tehran resumes compliance with it.

"Iran is out of compliance on a number of fronts, and it would take some time, should it make a decision to do so, for it to come back into compliance, and (some time) for us then to assess whether it was meeting its obligations. So, we're not there yet, to say the least," Blinken said.

The comments made by the Iranian Foreign Minister, on Friday, echoed statements made earlier this week by the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, who wrote in the New York Times that the Biden administration should "swiftly" remove sanctions before Iran considers returning to the obligations laid out in the 2015 deal.

"Biden and his administration should know that any delay in the lifting of sanctions will be construed as a sign of continued animosity toward the Iranian people," Takht-Ravanchi said.

"The window is closing. If the new administration does not meet its obligations and remove sanctions in short order, it will destroy the possibility for engagement within the nuclear agreement."
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