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Tehran ready for nuclear talks

作者:admin 2020-11-20

Tehran ready for nuclear talks

A handout photo provided by Iran's Atomic Energy Organization shows officials of the country's atomic agency, including its head Ali Akbar Salehi, meeting with officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in Tehran on Tuesday. The UN's atomic watchdog arrived in Iran on Monday for a visit aimed at improving cooperation on the Islamic republic's nuclear activities. Photo: AFP

Iran said Wednesday it would "automatically" return to its nuclear commitments if US President-elect Joe Biden lifts sanctions, as the outgoing administration doubled down with more pressure.

Biden has promised a return to diplomacy with Iran after four hawkish years under Donald Trump, who withdrew from a denuclearization accord and slapped on sweeping sanctions.

Tehran again meeting its commitments "can be done automatically and needs no conditions or even negotiations," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in comments published in the state-run Iran daily.

Zarif described Biden as a "foreign affairs veteran" whom he has known for 30 years. Once in the White House, Biden could "lift all of these [sanctions] with three executive orders," Zarif argued.

If Biden's administration does so, Iran's return to nuclear commitments will be "quick," the minister added.

Washington's return to the deal, however, could wait, Zarif added.

"The next stage that will need negotiating is America's return... which is not a priority," he said, adding that "the first priority is America ending its law-breaking."

President Hassan Rouhani meanwhile called the Trump administration "unruly," and said a Biden administration could "bring back the atmosphere" that prevailed in 2015 at the time of the nuclear deal, negotiated by Barack Obama's administration in which Biden was vice president.

The accord offered Tehran relief from international sanctions in exchange for guarantees, verified by the United Nations, that its nuclear program has no military aims.

Trump, who has not accepted defeat in the November 3 election, is moving to keep ramping up pressure on Iran, hoping to make it more difficult politically and legally for Biden to ease sanctions.

In the latest move, the Treasury Department said it was freezing any US interests of the Foundation of the Oppressed, officially a charitable organization for the poor that has interests across the Iranian economy.

The Treasury described the foundation as a "multibillion-dollar economic empire" and "key patronage network" for Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that operates without government oversight.


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