עלי חמינאי
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei
Photo: MCT
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei

Iran says U.S. must lift sanctions before it lives up to nuke deal

In first comments on issue since Biden took office, Khamenei says decision is 'definitive and irreversible policy of the Islamic Republic'; stance creates contest of wills after U.S. president says he wants to revive deal, but Tehran must first reverse nuclear steps

Associated Press |
Published: 02.07.21 , 14:33
Iran's supreme leader on Sunday urged the United States to lift all sanctions if it wants Iran to live up to commitments under its nuclear deal with world powers, state TV reported, his first comments on the matter since U.S. President Joe Biden took office.
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  • "If [the U.S.] wants Iran to return to its commitments, it must lift all sanctions in practice, then we will do verification - then we will return to our commitments," state TV quoted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying.
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    עלי חמינאי
    עלי חמינאי
    Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei
    (Photo: MCT)
    Former president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. in 2018 from the atomic deal, which saw Iran agree to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.
    Biden has said he will seek to revive the deal, but insisted that Iran must first reverse its nuclear steps, creating a contest of wills between the nations.
    "This is the definitive and irreversible policy of the Islamic Republic, and all of the country's officials are unanimous on this, and no one will deviate from it," Khamenei added Sunday, reiterating Iranian leaders' previous remarks that the U.S. must ease its sanctions before Iran comes back into compliance.
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    centrifuge machines in the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran
    centrifuge machines in the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran
    Centrifuges at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran
    (Photo: AP)
    The supreme leader, 81, has the final say on all matters of state in Iran and approved the efforts at reaching the nuclear deal in 2015.
    In response to Trump's so-called "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran, the country began to gradually violate its atomic commitments, and threatened further provocations in a bid to increase its leverage and get Biden to prioritize a return to the deal as he moves to dismantle Trump's legacy.
    Biden has signed a series of executive actions that reverse course on a wide range of issues, including climate change and immigration.
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    U.S. President Joe Biden in the Oval Office
    U.S. President Joe Biden in the Oval Office
    U.S. President Joe Biden in the Oval Office
    (Photo: AP)
    Following last November's killing of an Iranian scientist credited with spearheading the country's disbanded military nuclear program, Iran's parliament approved a law to block international nuclear inspectors later this month - a serious violation of the accord.
    Iran also has begun enriching uranium closer to weapons-grade levels and said it would experiment with uranium metals, a key component of a nuclear warhead.
    The country has announced its moves and insisted that all breaches of the pact are easily reversible.
    Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
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