Iran’s Rouhani urges Biden to return to 2015 nuclear deal

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during the cabinet meeting in Tehran, Iran, March 4, 2020. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani urged U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday to return to the 2015 nuclear deal and lift crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Biden, who takes office on Wednesday, has said the United States will rejoin the pact that includes restrictions on Iran’s nuclear work if Tehran resumes strict compliance.

“The ball is in the U.S. court now. If Washington returns to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, we will also fully respect our commitments under the pact,” Rouhani said in a televised cabinet meeting, according to Reuters.

“U.S. President Donald Trump’s political career is over today and his ‘maximum pressure’ policy on Iran has completely failed,” Rouhani added.

Tensions have grown between Tehran and Washington since 2018, when U.S. President Donald Trump exited the deal between Iran and six world powers that sought to limit Iran’s nuclear programme and prevent it from developing atomic weapons.

The United States also reimposed sanctions that crippled Iran’s economy.

Iran, which denies ever seeking nuclear arms, retaliated to Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy gradually breaching accord.

Tehran has repeatedly said it can quickly reverse those violations if Washington removes sanctions.

Antony Blinken, Biden’s choice for secretary of state, said on Tuesday that the United States would not take a quick decision on whether to rejoin the pact, Reuters reported.

“U.S. President Donald Trump’s political career is over today and his ‘maximum pressure’ policy on Iran has completely failed,” Rouhani said.

“Trump is dead but the nuclear deal is still alive.”

Iran’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday that it had blacklisted Trump and several current and former senior U.S. officials over what it called “terrorist and anti-human rights” acts.

Among officials sanctioned by Iran were Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; ex-Defense Secretary Mark Esper; Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the Foreign ministry said in a statement carried by state media.

Other blacklisted individuals included Central Intelligence Agency Director Gina Haspel; former National Security Adviser John Bolton; former U.S. Iran envoy Brian Hook; Elliott Abrams, Washington’s special representative on Iran and Venezuela; and Treasury Department sanctions official Andrea Gacki, it said.

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