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US backtracks from reimposing UN sanctions on Iran

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani receives Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani (not seen), in Tehran, Iran on February 16, 2021 [Presidency of Iran - Anadolu Agency]
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani receives Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani (not seen), in Tehran, Iran on February 16, 2021 [Presidency of Iran - Anadolu Agency]

The US rescinded on Thursday reimposing United Nations (UN) sanctions on Iran restored in September by the Donald Trump administration, international news agencies reported.

In a letter seen by Reuters and AP, Acting US Ambassador to the UN Richard Mills informed the UN Security Council that the Joe Biden administration is rescinding the reimposition of sanctions.

Mills confirmed that the sanctions measures terminated in the 2015 council resolution endorsing the nuclear deal with six major powers, which Trump restored in September, "remain terminated".

Most UN Security Council members called Trump's actions "illegal" because the US was no longer a member of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – a deal agreed by the great powers related to curbing Iran's nuclear programme.

Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018, accusing Iran of serious violations.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told European allies on Thursday that Biden's administration was prepared to talk to Iran about the return of his country to the deal.

Spokesman: US reversal on sanctions 'snap back' strengthens ability to engage with Security Council on Iran

It is worth noting that the Iranian parliament has set a deadline of 21 February for Biden to begin reversing sanctions imposed by Trump, or it will start banning short-notice inspections by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

"Regarding Iran, the E3 (a group consisting of the UK, France and Germany) and the United States expressed their shared fundamental security interest in upholding the nuclear non-proliferation regime and ensuring that Iran can never develop a nuclear weapon," the ministers of the E3 announced in a joint statement following a meeting held in Paris.

The E3 and the US reiterated that they were: "United in underlining the dangerous nature of a decision to limit IAEA access ahead of the 21 February deadline."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the same issue via telephone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, noting: "Now is the time for positive signals that create trust and increase the chances of a diplomatic solution."

US does not plan sanctions relief, other steps before Iran talks

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Asia & AmericasInternational OrganisationsIranMiddle EastNewsUNUS
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