Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei on Sunday, February 7, affirmed the country’s commitment to the JCPOA, also known as the Iran Nuclear Deal. He said Iran will “return to its JCPOA obligations once the US lifts its sanctions in action and not in words or on paper and once the sanction relief is verified by Iran.” Khamenei was addressing officers of the Iranian air force on the occasion of the anniversary of their defection from the monarchy and joining the Islamic revolution in 1979.
Khamenei emphasized that Americans and Europeans have no right to set any conditions on Iran as they have violated the rules of the JCPOA themselves. He was replying to secretary of state Antony Blinken’s demand that in order for the US to rejoin the deal, Iran has to first return to all its obligations under it.
— Fars News Agency (@EnglishFars) February 7, 2021
JCPOA was signed by Iran and the US along with five other countries in 2015. However, Donald Trump, claiming the deal was too one sided, unilaterally withdrew from it in 2018 and imposed multiple sanctions on Iran under a so called “maximum pressure” campaign to force Iran to renegotiate the deal including its missile program and regional policies.
Tehran, after warning the European signatories to abide by the deal and take effective measures to protect Iran from the sanctions imposed by the US, started reversing some of its commitments last year. It has maintained that all these steps are under the provisions of the JCPOA and once the US rejoins the deal and lifts sanctions, it will come back to full compliance within days.
Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif on Saturday asked the Biden administration to return to the deal as soon as possible hinting that the situation may not be conducive for the deal in Iran after the election of a new president in the upcoming June elections. In an interview given to the Iranian newspaper Hamshahri, Zarif said, “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,” Al Jazeera reported.
Replying to a question during his interview with CBS News on Sunday, president Joe Biden reiterated the US position on the matter. Answering whether the US would lift its sanctions first for Tehran to reverse its breach to the deal, Biden replied in the negative.
Biden, during his election campaign, had promised to reverse Trump’s decision and rejoin the deal. However, since assuming office his administration has taken a hard stand leading to accusations from Iran of the current US administration trying to take advantage of Trump’s policies.