Tehran: full return to nuclear deal if Biden lifts sanctions

Foreign Minister Zarif opens up to diplomacy with the new US administration. He calls the president-elect a "long-time expert" in foreign policy, who can lift all sanctions on Iran "with three executive orders." But for the president of the Iranian parliament, there are no differences between Biden and Trump.

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Tehran is ready to return to nuclear agreements, in the event that US President-elect Joe Biden eases sanctions. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif believes this is a step that "can be accomplished with three executive orders" and with extreme ease.

He added that the Islamic Republic is equally ready to "return to all commitments made in the field of nuclear power" if the new US administration loosens its grip by lifting all punitive measures adopted in the last two years.

In an interview published in the state-owned Iran Daily, Zarif throws the ball into the opposite court stating that "if the US meets its commitments under [UN Security Council] Resolution 2231, we will fulfill ours under the JCPOA". "If the US seeks to join the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] again, we are ready to negotiate the terms and conditions of Washington's membership in the deal," he added.

Outgoing US President Donald Trump ordered the withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),​​wanted by his predecessor Barack Obama. The JCPOA deal was signed in 2015, but the United States pulled out in May 2018 despite the opposition of the international community. US President Donald Trump followed the withdrawal by imposing the toughest sanctions in history against Iran. The decision has negatively impacted the Iranian economy as noted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  In response, Tehran threatened to resume enrichment of uranium for civilian purposes and has already exceeded low-enriched uranium reserves, now 12 times higher than the limits allowed under the agreement.

Although his victory is contested by Trump, Biden has repeatedly stressed his intention to return to the 2015 agreements between Iran and the 5 + 1 powers. In September, when asked by the CNN, the then democratic candidate had said he wanted to offer Iran "a credible path to return to diplomacy".

In the interview, the head of diplomacy in Tehran recalled that "America is obligated to implement Resolution 2231 as a member of the United Nations and its Security Council", pointing to the UNSC resolution that enshrined the 2015 nuclear deal. "If it does carry out this resolution and sanctions are lifted and there are no obstacles to Iran's economic activities, then Iran will carry out" its obligations under the deal, he said. Zarif described the president-elect as a "foreign affairs veteran" whom he has known for 30 years, and said, once in the White House, Biden could "lift all of these [sanctions] with three executive orders".

If on the external front Zarif expressed openness to dialogue, on the internal front he must guard against attacks from the conservative wing close to the ayatollahs. Parliament President Baqer Qalibaf affirms that there are no differences between Trump and Biden and, in a not too veiled attack on the government and President Hassan Rouhani, stresses that the life of the population "cannot depend" on US sanctions. In the meantime, a weekly near Pasdaran asks that the competence "on the nuclear dossier" be transferred from the Foreigners to the National Security Council, led by a former commander of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).