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Iran Repeats Demand US Sanctions Be Lifted Before Nuclear Talks Resume

This photo released on Nov. 5, 2019 by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran shows centrifuge machines in Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran.

Iran Monday repeated its call for the United States to drop sanctions imposed by former U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration for talks on resume on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.

At a news conference in Tehran Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said if the U.S. truly wants to begin renegotiating the nuclear deal, the path is clear: the U.S. must effectively remove the sanctions. He said there was no need for negotiations in this path.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman made similar comments Sunday regarding talks on a revival of the 2015 nuclear deal or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), that restrained Tehran’s nuclear development program to keep it from developing nuclear weapons.

A White House spokesperson responded Sunday by expressing “disappointment” with Iran’s response, but said the U.S. is ready to “reengage in meaningful diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to compliance with JCPOA commitments.”

Washington will consult the other four permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – Britain, China, France and Russia – plus Germany on the best way forward, the spokesperson said.

Trump withdrew the U.S. from the deal, but U.S. President Joe Biden has indicated - both during his presidential campaign and since he took office - he wants to rejoin the pact that includes Russia and China. The U.S. has also initiated communications with Iran over the fate of at least five American hostages being held by Tehran.