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Iran says ready for snap return to nuclear deal compliance

"Just as soon as the 5+1 or 4+1 resume all of their commitments, we will resume all of ours," Rouhani said

AFP , Wednesday 9 Dec 2020
Iran/nuclear deal
Javad Zarif Said Iran would need some kind of assurance that the biden administration would not simply leave the deal again.Reuters
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Iran is ready to return to full compliance with a 2015 nuclear deal with major powers as soon as the other parties honour their commitments, President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday.

The agreement between Iran and major powers has teetered on the brink of collapse since outgoing US President Donald Trump pulled out of it in 2018 and reimposed crippling unilateral sanctions.

US President-elect Joe Biden has expressed readiness to return to the agreement but over the past 18 months Iran has suspended the implementation of some of its own obligations, including key limits to its uranium enrichment programme.

"Just as soon as the 5+1 or 4+1 resume all of their commitments, we will resume all of ours," Rouhani said.

He was referring to the five veto-wielding permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany with whom Iran reached the nuclear deal.

"I've said it before  it doesn't take time, it's just a question of willing," he said in comments to his cabinet aired by state television

Defying criticism from Iran's ultra-conservatives, Rouhani reiterated his determination to seize the "opportunity" presented by the change of US president in January.

Parliament, which has been controlled by conservatives since a February election marred by record low turnout, passed a bill last week that threatens the prospects for a thaw in relations with Washington.

The bill, which still has to be signed into law by Rouhani, would relaunch Iran's enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity and threaten other future measures that would likely sound the death knell of the nuclear deal.

In a blow to the president, the Guardian Council, which arbitrates disputes between parliament and the government, approved the bill last week.

But in his comments on Wednesday, Rouhani appeared to suggest that he would withhold his signature from the bill.

"It is vital that we speak with a single voice," the president told ministers.

"People voted for a platform and they want four years of action," said Rouhani, who won re-election in 2017 with more than 57 percent of the vote.

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