Iran has announced it will not accept preconditions from a new Joe Biden administration over its nuclear programme unless the US returns to it’s 2015 deal signed by the Obama administration but discarded by Trump in 2018.
After Trump scrapped the deal, he then reimposed strict economic sanctions against Iran, targeting the country’s oil and financial sectors.
Tehran has since exceeded limits to its nuclear activities set under the deal, raising suspicions that it could be using the programme as a cover to develop a nuclear bomb.
But the Iranian government insists it’s nuclear ambitions are peaceful.
The Iran Nuclear deal signed by the US, EU, Iran, China and Russia was designed to constrain the programme in a verifiable way in return for sanctions relief.
Biden said he will open talks with Iran when he takes over the White House in 2021.
He promised to resurrect the Iran Nuclear deal and lift sanctions if Tehran returns to “strict compliance with the nuclear deal”.
But Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister has rejected Biden’s plan saying the US had its own “commitments” that must be implemented.
Addressing a virtual conference hosted by Italy on Thursday, December 3, Mr Zarif said the US had been “in grave breach” of a UN resolution endorsing the nuclear deal when it abandoned it, describing the Trump administration as “a rogue regime”.
“The United States must stop, the United States must cease its violations of international law,” he said. “It doesn’t require any negotiations.”
Mr Zarif went on to say that the US was “not in a position to set conditions”.
Biden said to the New York Times this week it was “going to be hard” but “the last goddamn thing we need in that part of the world is a build-up of nuclear capability”.
On Wednesday, December 2, Iran’s parliament passed a bill that would prevent UN inspections of its nuclear sites and require the government to resume enriching uranium to 20% – well above the 3.67% agreed under the deal – if sanctions were not eased within two months.
Uranium enriched to a much higher level can be used in a nuclear bomb, though once 20% has been achieved it is technologically easier to reach that required level of purity.
Last month, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran had more than 12 times the amount of enriched uranium permitted under the Nuclear deal agreement