Iran's Khamenei: U.S. Promises Are Not Credible, Sanctions Must Be Lifted Before Return to Nuclear Deal

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Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a message for the Iranian New Year in Iran, yesterday.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a message for the Iranian New Year in Iran, yesterday.Credit:,AP

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday Iran did not trust U.S. promises on lifting sanctions and that Tehran would only go back to its commitments under a 2015 nuclear deal after Washington fully ends the sanctions.

"We trusted America at the time of (former U.S. President Barack) Obama and fulfilled our commitments. But they didn't. The Americans said on paper that sanctions will be lifted, but they didn't lift sanctions in practice," Khamenei said in a speech on state TV. "Their promises have no credibility for us."

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"The Americans must lift all sanctions. We will verify it and if sanctions are ... really cancelled, we will return to our obligations without any problems," Khamenei said. "We have a lot of patience and we are not in a hurry."

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said last week that unless progress is made soon on restoring the nuclear deal, diplomacy would be halted for months by Iran's presidential election scheduled for June 18.

The new U.S. administration of President Joe Biden aims to revive an agreement abandoned by his predecessor Donald Trump, under which Iran accepted curbs to its nuclear program in return for the lifting of international sanctions. After Trump quit the pact and reimposed sanctions, Iran took steps that violate the deal's nuclear limits.

So far, Iran and the Biden administration are at loggerheads over which side should move first to revive the agreement, with Tehran demanding Washington first lift sanctions and Washington calling on Tehran first to resume compliance with the deal.

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