BRUSSELS — Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday urged the United States to quickly rejoin the international agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear ambitions, warning that the Islamic Republic’s upcoming elections could stymie progress in any talks.
The Trump administration in 2018 unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from the Iranian nuclear accord, in which Tehran had agreed to limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.
When the U.S. then reimposed some sanctions and added others, Iran gradually and publicly abandoned the deal’s limits on its nuclear development.
White House officials have said the new U.S. administration is prepared to return to the deal as soon as Tehran shows “strict compliance” with its terms.
Zarif said that as Iran’s elections approach the United States will find itself dealing with a government unable to make progress in the nuclear talks.
“A lame duck government will not be able to do anything serious. And then we will have a waiting period of almost six months. We will not have a government before September,” Zarif said at an online conference with the European Policy Centre think-tank in Brussels.
“A lot of things can happen between now and September. So, it is advisable for the United States to move fast,” Zarif said.
Iran believes that the U.S., as the country which first reneged on the 2015 agreement, must make the first move, and should not set any preconditions.
“We don’t see any reason for talks; we can go immediately to implementation and then have talks,” Zarif said.
The Associated Press