Ahead of Key Deadline, Iran Says U.S. Must Lift Sanctions in Order to Save Nuke Deal

FM Zarif says Iranian decision to end UN snap inspections of nuclear facilities doesn't mean abandoning deal ■ Comments come as head of the UN nuclear watchdog meets with Iran’s atomic chief

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
A member of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) navy in a joint naval exercise between Iran and Russia in the Indian Ocean earlier this month
A member of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) navy in a joint naval exercise between Iran and Russia in the Indian Ocean earlier this monthCredit: WANA NEWS AGENCY/ REUTERS

Iran's decision to end snap inspections by UN inspectors on February 23 would not mean abandoning its 2015 nuclear deal, but the United States must still lift sanctions on Tehran to rescue the pact, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday.

This comes as the head of the UN nuclear watchdog met Sunday with Iran’s atomic chief ahead of plans to partly suspend United Nations inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities, state TV reported.

In an interview with Iranian state TV, Zarif also criticised U.S. President Joe Biden's administration, saying "for all practical purposes they are pursuing the same policy" of "maximum pressure" as his predecessor Donald Trump.

>> Biden's diplomacy train is headed straight for Iran, with no stop inIran gains nuke know-how with uranium metal production, alarming Israel

"All our steps (to breach the deal) are reversible...The United States must return to the deal and lift all sanctions ... The United States is addicted to sanctions but they should know that Iran will not yield to pressure."

Iran’s parliament in December approved a bill that would suspend part of UN inspections of its nuclear facilities under a 2015 nuclear deal if European signatories do not provide relief from oil and banking sanctions by February 23.

It would also halt the implementation of an additional protocol that allows the IAEA inspectors to carry out more intrusive inspections to Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Following the 2015 deal, Iran voluntarily agreed to implement the additional protocol.

On Saturday, Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Iran’s nuclear department, said he and Rafael Grossi would meet Sunday to discuss the U.N. agency’s concerns over the halt of the inspections as well as Iran’s cooperation with the agency.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said last week the visit was aimed at finding “a mutually agreeable solution for the IAEA to continue essential verification activities in the country.”

Comments