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Wednesday Jan 20 2021

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani appeals to Joe Biden to return to 2015 nuclear deal


  • Hassan Rouhani says ball in US court now
  • Iranian president says if Washington returns to nuclear deal then Iran will respect its commitment
  • Incoming US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says US will not take a quick decision 

DUBAI: Iran's President Hassan Rouhani appealed to US President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday to rejoin to the 2015 nuclear deal and remove the sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Biden, who takes office on Wednesday, has said the United States will rejoin the pact that includes restrictions on Iran's nuclear work if Tehran resumes strict compliance.

"The ball is in the US court now. If Washington returns to Iran's 2015 nuclear deal, we will also fully respect our commitments under the pact," Rouhani said in a televised cabinet meeting.

"Today, we expect the incoming US administration to return to the rule of law and commit themselves, and if they can, in the next four years, to remove all the black spots of the previous four years," he said.

Read more: Israel revisits military options for war against Iran as Biden to replace Trump

Tensions have grown between Tehran and Washington since 2018, when US President Donald Trump exited the deal between Iran and six world powers that sought to limit Tehran's nuclear programme and prevent it developing atomic weapons. Washington reimposed sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.

Iran, which denies ever seeking nuclear arms, retaliated to Trump's "maximum pressure" policy by gradually breaching accord. Tehran has repeatedly said it can quickly reverse those violations if US sanctions are removed.

Antony Blinken, Biden's choice for secretary of state, said on Tuesday the United States would not take a quick decision on whether to rejoin the pact.

"US President Donald Trump's political career is over today and his 'maximum pressure' policy on Iran has completely failed," Rouhani said. "Trump is dead but the nuclear deal is still alive."