In his first public pronouncement on February 7 about the Iran nuclear deal since taking oath as US president, Joe Biden told CBS news that his regime would not lift the illegal sanctions against Iran to get it to the negotiating table.
He said Iran would have to stop enriching uranium before the US sits down to talk about sanctions relief.
The US is in no position to put forward such ludicrous demands.
The now ex-US president Donald Trump walked out of the multilateral agreement in May 2018 and imposed a raft of illegal sanctions against Iran.
The Islamic Republic did not walk away from the deal or scale back its commitment despite having the legal right to do so.
Instead, it waited for the other signatories for an entire year to fulfill their obligations under the deal that they had signed.
Earlier in the day (February 7), the Rahbar, Imam Seyyed Ali Khamenei had said that Iran will retrace its nuclear countermeasures once America lifts its sanctions in a manner that could be verified by Tehran.
“Iran will return to its JCOPA obligations once the US fully lifts its sanctions in action and not in words or on paper, and once the sanction relief is verified by Iran,” the Rahbar said while addressing air force commanders in Tehran.
“The Americans and the Europeans have no right to set any conditions [of their own] as they violated their JCPOA commitments,” the Rahbar said.
Iran would pay no heed to the “idle talk” of some “undeserving” American and European officials in this regard, he emphasized.
The JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), as it is officially called, was agreed upon after years of intense negotiations.
The Islamic Republic of Iran faced foreign ministers of the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the foreign policy chief of the European Union.
The deal was signed on July 15, 2015 and ratified by UN Security Council resolution 2231 five days later.
Its salient features are:
1: Cap on Iran’s uranium enrichment at 3.67% for a period of 10 years;
2: Transfer of all 20% enrichment uranium stockpile out of the country;
3: Iran to not develop its Fardow nuclear facility;
4: Allow installation of surveillance cameras and snap inspections by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors;
5: In return, the US and all other countries would lift all sanctions against the Islamic Republic and unfreeze tens of billions of dollars of its money from exports in foreign banks.
The JCPOA has two specific provisions—articles 26 and 36—that allow Iran to scale back its commitment on uranium enrichment if the other parties fail to fulfill their obligations.
When Trump abandoned the multilateral agreement in May 2018 and snapped back illegal sanctions, Iran did not immediately end its compliance.
It remained fully compliant for an entire year giving the Europeans a chance to fulfill their obligations under the deal.
Apart from soothing words, they did nothing.
When Iran got no sanctions relief, Tehran began to scale back its JCPOA commitments but only incrementally.
During the presidential campaign, Biden had said he would return to the nuclear deal, chastising Trump for walking out of a multilateral agreement.
As president, he is walking back on his word.
That, however, is the nature of the US. It is totally untrustworthy.
If its signature on a multilateral deal means nothing, why should anyone trust the US’s word?
But time is running out for Biden, as Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif pointed out on February 6.
In December, Iran’s parliament passed legislation stipulating that if sanctions are not lifted by February 21, Tehran should increase its nuclear enrichment.
The US must abandon its failed tactics and realize that it can no longer dictate to the Islamic Republic.
Instead, Biden should concentrate on putting his own house in order that is in a state of virtual civil war.
The US economy has tanked and tens of millions of people are languishing in poverty.