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Iran wants assurances US will never abandon nuclear deal if revived

Tehran's foreign ministry spokesperson says 'nothing will change' if Biden administration does not change approach and lift all sanctions on Iran
Khatibzadeh said Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani will travel this week to the UK, France and Germany.
Khatibzadeh said Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani will travel this week to the UK, France and Germany (AFP/File photo)

Iran said on Monday that the United States should provide guarantees that it will not again abandon the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, if talks to revive the agreement succeed.

"The US should show that it has the capability and will to provide guarantees that it will not abandon the deal again if the talks to revive the deal succeed," foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told a virtual news conference.

Khatibzadeh said Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani will travel this week to the UK, France and Germany - three of the signatories of the nuclear pact.

Echoing Iran's official stance, Khatibzadeh said Washington must lift all sanctions imposed on Tehran in a verifiable process and "recognise its fault in ditching the pact".

In 2018, former President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Obama-era nuclear deal, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and proceeded to impose a series of crippling sanctions that have destroyed Iran's economy.

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Iran continued to abide by the agreement but since 2019 has reduced its commitments.

When President Joe Biden took office in January, he and his administration sought a return to the accord. The last round of negotiations ended in June and the next round is set to resume on 29 November in Vienna.

Khatibzadeh said that "nothing will change in Vienna" if Washington does not change its approach to maintaining Trump's legacy and upholding sanctions, Bloomberg reported.

The ongoing stance, however, is likely to cause concern in the US and with its European allies - France, the UK, and Germany - who deem it unrealistic and want to resume June's talks, where they left off, without new demands.

Robert Malley, the US special envoy for Iran, said last month that early on in the negotiations Washington made it clear that if Iran returned to compliance under the JCPOA, the US would lift all sanctions inconsistent with the deal.

Still, hundreds of additional sanctions relating to Tehran's "destabilising" behaviour would likely remain.

One western diplomat told Reuters that if Tehran was genuinely continuing to demand a guarantee and full lifting of sanctions, then it meant Iran was not serious about the talks.

A spokesperson for the UK foreign office told the news agency that it would "urge Iran to take the opportunity to swiftly conclude the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal on the table".