March 6, 2021

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Iran’s Javad Zarif: Clock Ticking for Biden Administration to Return to Nuclear Deal

“The US has little time, both because of the parliamentary ruling and the pre-election atmosphere after the [Iranian] New Year [on 21 March]”, Zarif said commenting on the possibility that the US will lift sanctions ahead of the presidential election in Iran, scheduled for mid-June.

At the same time, the minister noted that he saw no need in launching direct talks between Iran and the US to discuss the issue.

“There is [EU foreign policy chief Josep] Borrell, who, as a coordinator of the JCPOA, can take up the coordination issues. We are ready to talks to Borrell, the US is also ready for talks with him”, Zarif added.

The minister also said that Iran had never left the negotiating table on the nuclear deal, noting that it is the US that “needs a ticket to sit down at the negotiating table.”

Earlier this week, Washington said that it was engaged in active consultations with major European countries on the issue of the Iran nuclear programme and expected a unified front to deal with the matter.

Biden has repeatedly vowed to return the United States to the 2015 agreement, abandoned by his predecessor Donald Trump in 2018, but has not taken any steps so far. Meanwhile, Iran has passed a law to increase its uranium enrichment to 20 percent and stop UN inspections of its nuclear sites in response to the killing of nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. In January, Tehran began working on the production of uranium metal.

Though Biden has expressed readiness to rejoin the deal, he has also called for negotiating a broader agreement with Iran. Tehran, in turn, has rejected the possibility of expanding the nuclear deal.

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