Iran took the Vienna negotiations on restoring the 2015 nuclear agreement “very seriously,” President Ebrahim Raisi told RT in an exclusive interview. He added that the barrier to restoring the treaty remains Washington’s refusal to abide by its terms.
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The nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was negotiated by the Obama administration in 2015. Tehran agreed to strict oversight of its nuclear energy program – maintaining that it never sought to obtain atomic weapons – in exchange for relief from sanctions imposed by the UN at US urging. The Trump administration unilaterally reimposed those sanctions in 2018.
Raisi noted that the European parties to the treaty – France, Germany, and the UK – have "also failed to fulfill their obligations" under the JCPOA through "the lack of new appropriate measures" to deal with the US violation.
"The International Atomic Energy Agency stated 15 times that Iran had fulfilled its obligations, that Iran was committed to its obligations," Raisi told RT. "So, we have fulfilled our obligations, but they have violated theirs. They must fulfill their obligations. We didn't break anything."
Upon taking office in January 2021, US President Joe Biden said he was open to returning to the JCPOA if Iran came back into compliance. Tehran responded that Washington needs to come into compliance first, starting with the removal of sanctions.
"If the parties are ready to lift sanctions, the ground for reaching an agreement on nuclear issues is absolutely ready," said Raisi, who became president in August 2021, after previously serving as Iran's chief justice and attorney general.