Iran refuses to negotiate with Biden over nuke deal unless the US 'corrects its path' and lifts sanctions

IRAN has ruled out the possibility of talks with President Joe Biden over the nuclear deal unless the US "corrects its path" and lifts sanctions.

Iranian leaders have refused to negotiate with Biden unless the United States honours its commitments under the 2015 pact, according to reports.

The deal, which includes restrictions on the country's nuclear work, was meant to restrict Iran to developing a peaceful nuclear capability in return for sanctions being lifted.

But it was torn up by former President Donald Trump in 2018, who reinstated US nuclear sanctions on the Iranian regime. 

Trump argued the deal was one-sided and didn’t cover Iran’s ballistic missile development or its destabilising behaviour in the Middle East.

Biden has confirmed the US will rejoin the deal – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – if Tehran resumes strict compliance.

He appears to see a return to the deal as a prelude to wider talks on Iran’s nuclear work, its ballistic missiles and regional activities.

A signature on a piece of paper will not suffice

But Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh today ruled out talks with the US unless it lifts sanctions, rather than just rejoining the pact.

"No bilateral negotiation with the US is necessary," Khatibzadeh told reporters, according to Press TV.

"The US needs to return to its commitments, and if that happens, it will be possible to negotiate within the framework of the Joint Commission of the JCPOA."

He added: "If the Biden administration intends to correct the United States' wrong path, it should take practical measures."

Iran said the US rejoining the deal would be meaningless unless sanctions are lifted.

"A signature on a piece of paper will not suffice," Khatibzadeh said.

The pact is a 159-page agreement reached by Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States on July 14, 2015.

The nuclear deal was endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231, adopted on July 20, 2015.

Iran's message comes after the country's president told Biden that the "ball is in your court" over the nuclear deal.

In a televised cabinet meeting, Rouhani welcomed the end of "tyrant" Trump’s era.

"The ball is in the US court now. If Washington returns to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, we will also fully respect our commitments under the pact," he said.

US and Iran – a troubled history

  • Before the 1979 Iranian revolution, Iran was one of America's biggest allies in the Middle East and was led by the US-backed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi.
  • However, since the seismic revolt, Iran has been led by murderous Islamic fundamentalists and tensions with Washington have remained ever since.
  • On November 4, 1979, the Iranian regime took 52 US diplomats hostage in response to President Carter’s administration allowing Iran’s deposed former leader into America.
  • The hostage crisis lasted for 444 days and also included a failed rescue mission which cost the lives of eight US soldiers.
  • In April 1980, the US ended diplomatic relations with Iran – a break which lasted for more than 30 years.
  • In April 1983, Washington blamed the Iranian-funded terror group Hezbollah for carrying out a bombing attack on the American embassy in Beirut, Lebanon.
  • The assault, carried out amid a brutal civil war in Lebanon, killed 17 Americans.
  • In November of that year, two truck bombs in Beirut killed 241 US peace keepers. The US again blamed Hezbollah for the incident.
  • The Clinton White House, in 1995, placed a total embargo on Iran meaning US companies could not trade with the country.
  • And in 2002, George W Bush included the Islamic Republic in his famous “Axis of evil” speech along with North Korea and Iraq.
  • On January 3, 2020, Iran's General Soleimani was killed by a US drone strike in Iraq

"Today, we expect the incoming US administration to return to the rule of law and commit themselves, and if they can, in the next four years, to remove all the black spots of the previous four years."

At the end of last year satellite photos showed Iran was ramping up of its capability.

The work came in the wake of it vowing to revenge the killing of nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who died in a bomb and gun attack near the capital Tehran.

It also stepped up production of material that can be used for nuclear weapons at a site Trump was reportedly talked out of attacking.

Tehran is pumping nuclear fuel into advanced uranium-enriching centrifuges installed underground at Natanz, the UN’s nuclear watchdog has said.

Tehran has ruled out halting its missile programme or changing its regional policy.

Biden’s choice to lead the Pentagon, retired Army General Lloyd Austin, said on Tuesday that Iran posed a threat to American allies in the region and forces stationed in the Middle East.

It comes as Iran put on a dramatic display of its naval strength using cruise missiles and torpedoes to blow up ships in drills aimed at warning off "encroaching enemies".

Iran fired the cruise missiles and torpedoes as part of a naval drill in the Gulf of Oman, Press TV reported.

It also promised to "crush its aggressors" after US B-52H Stratofortress bombers flew over the Middle East in a show of military strength.

The country has been flexing its naval muscles this week, showcasing a pair of new warships during the two-day exercise, code-named Naval Strength 99.

Relations between Washington and Tehran plunged to new lows as Trump reportedly mulled over whether he should attack Iran before Biden took over as president.

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