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Iran’s supreme leader backs nuclear deal if all US sanctions lifted

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday spoke out in favour of the country returning to the 2015 Vienna nuclear agreement - but only if all US sanctions are lifted.

Iran‘s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday spoke out in favour of the country returning to the 2015 Vienna nuclear agreement – but only if all US sanctions are lifted.

“For a return to the nuclear agreement, the US must lift all sanctions … in practice and not on paper,” he told state TV.

The nuclear deal (JCPoA) was meant to curb Iran‘s nuclear programme in exchange for lifting economic sanctions. Former US president Donald Trump pulled out of the agreement in 2018. Washington then introduced a policy of “maximum pressure” to try and renegotiate the agreement and force Tehran to accept tougher conditions.

In response, the country gradually stopped complying with its obligations under the deal.

If sanctions are lifted, Iran would return to its commitments under the international accord, Khamenei said on Sunday. He said this view was shared throughout the country and could not be changed.

Similar statements and demands have been made by Iranian President Hassan Rowhani and his chief diplomat, Mohammad Javad Zarif, following the Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential election.

The Iranian government has called on Washington to make the first move. “Neither the Americans nor the Europeans have a right to make demands on Iran because they, unlike Iran, have not kept their commitments under the deal,” Khamenei said.

The sanctions imposed by Trump plunged oil-rich Iran into the worst economic crisis in its history. Rowhani hopes that the nuclear agreement and the Iranian economy can be saved under Biden.

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