Nuclear talks in Vienna
Nuclear talks in Vienna Handout, Reuters

Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, said on Monday there is "no way" to return to the 2015 nuclear deal unless the United States lifts the Trump-era sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic, The Hill reports.

Amir-Abdollahian’s comments came as indirect talks between Iran and the US on saving the 2015 deal resumed in Vienna.

The US, he said, “still fails to properly understand the fact that there is no way to return to the JCPOA without verifiable and effective lifting of all sanctions imposed on the Iranian nation after the US departure.”

“The main objective of the upcoming talks should be the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA and the pursuit of the goal of normalization of trade relations and economic cooperation with Iran,” added the Iranian Foreign Minister.

He stated that the US returning to the deal would not be meaningful unless “guarantees are presented to prevent the recurrence of the bitter experience of the past.”

“I would like to emphasize once again that this opportunity is not a window that could remain open forever. The Islamic Republic of Iran, while making its determined, strong and active diplomatic efforts to remove the oppressive US sanctions, has devised an effective program to neutralize the sanctions in line with its sustainable economic development program,” added Amir-Abdollahian.

Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal it signed with world powers in response to former US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May of 2018.

Iran has repeatedly demanded that the US lift sanctions imposed on Iran and also reassure Iran it will not abandon the deal again as a precondition for its returning to compliance with the deal.

US officials have said that while they prefer the diplomatic route to reach an agreement with Iran, there are other options on the table should that fail.

The US envoy on Iran, Robert Malley, said last week that Washington will not "sit idly" on Iran if it drags its feet on returning to the nuclear deal.

Meanwhile, General Kenneth McKenzie, the top US commander in the Middle East, said that Iran is “very close” to a nuclear bomb and his forces stand ready with a potential military option should talks with the Islamic Republic fail.

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