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Senior Iran cleric demands removal of banking, oil sanctions

Khatib Ahmad Khatami [Mostafameraji/Wikimedia]
Khatib Ahmad Khatami [Mostafameraji/Wikimedia]

A senior Iranian cleric said, on Friday, ending Iran's economic isolation by lifting banking and oil trade sanctions was Tehran's most important demand in talks on reviving its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, Reuters reports.

Iran, on Wednesday, urged the West to be "realistic" in the talks, as its top negotiator returned to Tehran for what might be final consultations ahead of a possible accord, following months of indirect talks with the United States.

"Our negotiators … do their best to ensure the nation's interests, and know that the final point is the lifting of all sanctions, especially on banking and trade," Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said at Friday prayers in Tehran.

"If these sanctions are not lifted, it is as if there were no talks," State media quoted him as saying.

The general content of sermons delivered at Friday prayers is set by the office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah, Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on Iran's nuclear policy and all other matters of State.

READ: Iran Nuclear Chief says Tehran to enrich uranium to 20% even after nuclear deal 

After 10 months of talks in Vienna, progress has been made toward the restoration of the pact to curb Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, but both Tehran and Washington have cautioned that there are still some significant differences to overcome.

A majority of Iran's hard-line-led parliament demanded in a letter, last week, that the United States should guarantee that they would not abandon a restored agreement. The assembly has not voted on the letter.

A senior Iranian official has told Reuters that Iran has shown flexibility by agreeing to "inherent guarantees" that the US administration will not quit an agreement, as Washington says it is impossible for President Joe Biden to provide the legal assurances Iran has demanded.

Iran insists on the immediate removal of all sanctions imposed under former US President Donald Trump in a verifiable process, including those imposed under terrorism or human rights measures.

READ: Israel concerned US sanctions on Russia could harm interests in Syria, report says

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