Iran's Zarif Urges Biden to Return to Nuclear Deal: 'Time Is Running Out'

Iranian FM warns U.S. that nuclear deal could be further jeopardized if hardline president is elected in Iran's June elections

Reuters
Reuters
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Iranian FM Javad Zarif during talks in Moscow in January 2021.
Iranian FM Javad Zarif during talks in Moscow in January 2021.Credit: ,AP
Reuters
Reuters

Iran's foreign minister urged Washington to act fast to return to the nuclear accord, pointing out that legislation passed by the Iranian parliament forces the government to harden its nuclear stance if U.S. sanctions are not eased by February 21.

Mohammad Javad Zarif also referred to elections in Iran in June. If a hardline president is elected, this could further jeopardize the deal.

Facebook silenced Trump. Will it tackle Netanyahu’s lies? Listen to Guy Rolnik

“Time is running out for the Americans, both because of the parliament bill and the election atmosphere that will follow the Iranian New Year,” Zarif said in an interview with the Hamshahri newspaper published on Saturday. Iran’s new year begins on March 21.

The parliament, dominated by hardliners, passed the legislation in December that set a two-month deadline for an easing of sanctions.

“The more America procrastinates, the more it will lose … it will appear that Mr. Biden’s administration doesn’t want to rid itself of Trump’s failed legacy,” Zarif said in the interview.

“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, Zarif hinted at a way to resolve the impasse over which side moves first, by saying the steps could be synchronized.

President Joe Biden’s administration is exploring ways to restore the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran signed with major world powers but that was abandoned in 2018 by former President Donald Trump, who restored sanctions.

Protesters in Tehran burn pictures of Joe Biden and Donald Trump during a demonstration against the killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran's top nuclear scientist, in NovemberCredit: WANA/ REUTERS

Iran retaliated by breaching the terms of the accord in a step-by-step response. Last month, it resumed enriching uranium to 20 percent at its underground Fordow nuclear plant - a level it achieved before the accord.

Biden has said that if Tehran returned to strict compliance with the pact, Washington would follow suit and use that as a springboard to a broader agreement that might restrict Iran's missile development and regional activities.

Tehran has insisted that Washington ease sanctions before it resumes compliance, and ruled out negotiations on wider security issues.

U.S. 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.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage