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Iran nuclear deal

Khamenei says Iran will return to nuclear commitments once US lifts sanctions

Published: Updated:

Tehran will return to its nuclear commitments once the United States lifts all sanctions on Iran, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said Sunday.

“The US must lift all sanctions, and then if we verify that they have indeed been lifted, we will return to our [nuclear] commitments without any problems,” Khamenei said in a televised speech.

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Iran began violating the deal after former President Donald Trump withdrew from it in 2018 and reimposed economic sanctions.

Khamenei said Washington’s promises are “not credible” and that the US needs to take action.

Iran has a great amount of patience and is not in a hurry to reach any agreements, Khamenei said, adding: “We also believe that opportunities should not be squandered, but we will not rush either, because sometimes the risk is greater than the benefit.”

The US and Iran have both said they want to keep the deal alive, but there is disagreement over who makes the first move.

Washington has said it would rejoin the deal once Iran returns to full compliance with it, while Tehran insists the US must lift all sanctions first.

Khamenei said the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” policy against Iran has failed, and if the Biden administration chooses to pursue the same policy, it will also fail.

Khamenei said he agrees with US officials who say the world has changed since the nuclear deal was signed, but claimed that the change has been in Tehran’s favor, not Washington’s.

“Iran has become much stronger” since 2015-2016, Khamenei claimed.

“If the nuclear deal is to be changed, the changes must be in Iran’s interest,” he said.

“We have neutralized the sanctions.”

US, Israel looking to undermine Iran elections

In another part of his speech, Khamenei accused the US and Israel of trying to undermine Iran’s presidential elections, set to take place in June.

“They either accuse the organizers of rigging the elections, or they discourage the people from participating by saying the elections make no difference to their lives,” Khamenei said.

Iran is due to hold presidential elections on June 18. Officials have expressed concern over potential low voter turnout, which could undermine the regime’s legitimacy.

Last year, turnout in Iran’s parliamentary elections was around 42 percent, the lowest since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution.