Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei casting his vote for 2017 presidential and local election. Wikimedia Commons photo.
This article was originally published Jan. 8, 2020, on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says the country is in no hurry to see the United States return to an international nuclear deal with major powers after President-elect Joe Biden takes office this month.
“We are in no rush and we are not insisting on their return,” Khamenei said in a televised speech on January 8, reiterating Iran’s demand for a lifting of sanctions that outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump reimposed after quitting the agreement in May 2018.
Trump has argued the 2015 accord did not go far enough and said economic pressure would force Tehran to negotiate a new deal that would address Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, as well as its support for regional proxies.
In response to the U.S. pullout and economic sanctions, Iran, which claims its nuclear program is for civilian purposes, has gradually breached parts of the pact, such as uranium enrichment, saying it is no longer bound by it.
Biden has suggested that Washington may reenter the nuclear deal, under which Tehran committed to limit its nuclear activities in return for relief from sanctions, if Iran complies.
Other parties to the deal, notably Britain, France, and Germany, have pressed Iran to return to its commitments in a bid to rescue the accord.
Iranian officials have said they could quickly return to compliance once the United States and Europeans fulfill their end of the agreement by providing Tehran with the economic relief.
Tehran also says its missile program and regional policies are off the table.
“When the other party meets practically none of its obligations, it is not logical for the Islamic republic to honor all of its commitments,” Khamenei said, adding: “If they return to their commitments, we will return to ours.”
Copyright (c)2020 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.
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