The US president said the Islamic Republic must reduce its level of uranium enrichment before returning to dialogue

Biden says sanctions will not be lifted until Iran meets commitments

AP/CAROLYN KASTER - US President Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden said that the political and economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran imposed by Donald Trump's previous administration will not be eased as long as Tehran does not fulfil its commitments under the nuclear deal. 

The US leader said Iran must reduce its uranium enrichment before returning to talks on the ayatollahs' nuclear programme.  

Former US President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the nuclear pact with Iran that was signed in 2015 together with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China, which limited the Persian nuclear programme, especially in terms of weapons. The US withdrew from the pact in 2018 due to allegations of non-compliance by the Iranian regime with the agreement, and political and economic sanctions were subsequently imposed, including those related to the oil trade, the main source of Persian financing.  

According to several analysts and media, Iran repeatedly violated the deal in recent months, even as reports emerged that Biden would seek to strengthen the agreement between the Iranian state and world powers on nuclear issues.  

The 2015 deal reduced sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbing its nuclear development, which many feared was aimed at building an atomic weapon. 

In a segment of a CBS News interview taped on Friday and broadcast on Sunday, Biden said "no" when asked whether Washington would lift sanctions to get Tehran to the negotiating table. Asked if Iran had to stop enriching uranium first, Biden nodded.

Iran said last month that it was now enriching uranium to 20 per cent purity, well above the 3.67 per cent level set by the nuclear deal (known as the JCPOA). 

The Biden administration said it must work urgently to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, according to Arab News itself.  

Iran will not return to nuclear deal until sanctions are lifted 

Meanwhile, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that before the Islamic Republic returns to its commitments, the United States must "totally" lift sanctions against his country. "If they want Iran to return to its commitments, the United States must in practice ... lift all sanctions,” state TV quoted Khamenei as saying during a meeting with Air Force commanders. “Then, after verifying whether all sanctions have been lifted correctly, we will return to full compliance," Khamenei added.  

El ayatolá Alí Jamenei usando una máscara protectora para el rostro mientras pronuncia un discurso en la capital, Teherán

The JCPOA was intended to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons in exchange for lifting international sanctions that are choking its economy. The Islamic Republic responded to the reinstatement of tough US sanctions by progressively reneging on its side of the bargain. Iran also threatened at the time to continue trading its oil despite sanctions. In addition, the Islamic Republic was singled out, along with pro-Iranian agents, by several countries for allegedly being behind incidents involving cargo ships in Gulf waters. President Hassan Rohani himself has already threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, the main crossing point for the global crude oil trade, following the sanctions measures.