Iran’s Foreign Minister has urged Washington to quickly restore the 2015 nuclear accord, pointing out legislation passed by the Parliament in Tehran would force the Government to harden its nuclear stance if US sanctions were not eased by February 21.
Mohammad Javad Zarif also referred to elections to be held in Iran in June, warning if a hardline president was elected, it could further jeopardise the deal.
“Time is running out for the Americans, both because of the Parliament bill and the election atmosphere that will follow the Iranian New Year,” Mr Zarif said in an interview with Hamshahri newspaper.
Iran’s new year begins on March 21.
The legislation, passed in December by a Parliament dominated by hardliners, set a two-month deadline for an easing of sanctions.
US President Joe Biden‘s administration is exploring ways to restore the nuclear deal that Iran signed with world powers but was abandoned in 2018 by former president Donald Trump, who resumed sanctions.
Iran retaliated to Mr Trump‘s move by breaching the terms of the accord in a step-by-step response.
Last month, it resumed enriching uranium to 20 per cent — a level it achieved before the accord.
Mr Biden has said if Tehran returns to strict compliance with the pact, Washington will follow suit and use that as a springboard to a broader agreement that might restrict Iran’s missile development and regional activities.
Tehran has said Washington must ease sanctions before it resumes nuclear compliance, and has ruled out negotiations on wider security issues such as Iran’s missile program.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed Iran on Friday in a virtual meeting with his British, French and German counterparts as the group weighed how to revive the deal.
Iran says US should rid itself of ‘Trump‘s failed legacy’
“We don’t need to return to the negotiating table. It’s America that has to find the ticket to come to the table,” he added.
On Monday, Mr Zarif hinted at a way to resolve the impasse over which side would move first, saying the steps could be synchronised.
In Tehran’s latest steps to develop its missile program, the Iranian military on Saturday opened a plant to produce hybrid solid fuel for missiles and a factory to build shoulder-fired rockets, state television reported.
Tehran welcomes changed US stance on Yemen
Separately, Iran’s foreign ministry said a new US stand on the Yemen war could be a helpful step, after Mr Biden said this week Washington was ending its support for a Saudi Arabia-led military campaign in Yemen.
“Stopping support … for the Saudi coalition, if not a political manoeuvre, could be a step towards correcting past mistakes,” state media quoted ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh as saying.
But he added: “This alone won’t solve Yemen’s problem, and the air, sea and land blockade that killed thousands of people in the country due to a lack of food and medicine must be lifted, and the military attacks of the aggressor states led by Saudi Arabia must be ended.”
Mr Biden this week said the more-than-six-year war, widely seen as a proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, “has to end”.
He also named veteran US diplomat Timothy Lenderking as the US special envoy for Yemen in a bid to step up American diplomacy to try to end the war.