Iran's Zarif says U.S. must first lift sanctions before talks to revive 2015 deal

# 21 February 2021 20:52 (UTC +04:00)

Tehran said on Sunday the United States must first lift sanctions on Iran if it wants to talk about salvaging the 2015 nuclear deal, reiterating its stance that it will not make the first move to restore the pact with major powers, APA reports citing Reuters.

President Joe Biden’s administration said last week it was ready to talk to Iran about both nations returning to the accord, which aimed to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons while lifting most international sanctions.

Former President Donald Trump abandoned the deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Iran, which in turn gradually began breaching terms of the agreement.

But Iran and the United States have been at odds over who should take the first step to revive the accord. Iran insists the United States must first lift U.S. sanctions while Washington says Tehran must first return to compliance.

“The U.S. will not be able to rejoin the nuclear pact before it lifts sanctions ... Once everybody implements their side of obligations, there will be talks,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told Iran’s English Language Press TV.

“Biden claims that Trump’s maximum pressure policy was maximum failure...but they have not changed that policy (towards Iran). The United States is addicted to pressure, sanctions and bullying...It does not work with Iran.”