Iranian UN Envoy on JCPOA: Ball in American Court


Iran’s permanent representative to the United Nations said Tehran is not planning to initiate any move over issues surrounding the 2015 nuclear deal and it is up to the United States to decide the course of action. 
In his first interview since US President Joe Biden was sworn in last week, Majid Takht-Ravanchi told NBC that Tehran was not prepared to offer goodwill gestures or confidence-building steps until Washington returned to the nuclear agreement it left in 2018.
"The ball is in the US court," he said.
Former US president, Donald Trump, withdrew in 2018 from a multinational nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers, and reimposed sweeping sanctions against Tehran. 
The deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, introduced strict limits on Iran's nuclear program in return for easing economic sanctions. 
The reintroduction of sanctions and European parties’ failure to counter the impacts of sanctions finally forced Iran to resort to remedial measures foreseen in the accord and suspend its commitments until it can enjoy its economic JCPOA benefits once again.
As a candidate, Biden said he would return the US to the agreement, if Iran met its obligations under the deal.



Conciliatory Steps 

Takht-Ravanchi said Iran wanted to see the new president make good on his promises and if he did, Tehran would be ready to once again abide by the terms of the accord.
"It is totally up to the new administration. So, as soon as they implement their obligations, Iran has said on numerous occasions that Iran will return to the full implementation of its undertakings," he said.
He also dismissed reports about Iran’s contact with the Biden administration, as well as any plan to open up a direct dialogue or indirect communication through an intermediary. 
"We are not planning to initiate anything. It's up to the US to decide what course of action to take. We're not in a hurry," he said.
In the meantime, members of Biden's national security team have also suggested the new administration was not on the verge of a quick decision to rejoin the nuclear deal.
"We are a long way from there," Antony Blinken, Biden's pick for secretary of state, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Jan. 19.
He said the administration would first need to evaluate if Iran was complying with the nuclear agreement.
Takht-Ravanchi said, however, that it would be "absurd" for Iran to take conciliatory steps now when it was the US that violated the agreement by withdrawing.
"Words are not enough. We need to see action on the part of the United States," he said.

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