Khamenei: Tehran Not in Rush for U.S. to Rejoin 2015 Nuclear Deal

DUBAI (Reuters) -
President Barack Obama (L) and Vice President Joe Biden walk together after Obama announced that the United States with five other major world powers, and Iran had reached a nuclear deal, during a statement in the East Room of the White House in 2015. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said on Friday that his country is not in a hurry for the United States to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal, but he insisted that the sanctions must be lifted immediately.

“We are not insisting nor in a hurry for the U.S. to return to the deal,” Khamenei said in live broadcast remarks.

“But what is logical is our demand, is the lifting of the sanctions,” he added.

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

In retaliation, Tehran started gradually violating the accord.

Potentially complicating efforts by President-elect Joe Biden to rejoin the deal, Iran said on Monday it had resumed 20% uranium enrichment at its Fordow underground nuclear facility.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog confirmed that Iran had started the process of enriching uranium to 20% purity.

Tehran says it can quickly reverse its breaches if U.S. sanctions are removed. Biden, who takes office on Jan. 20, has said the United States will rejoin the deal “if Iran resumes strict compliance” with the pact.