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Iran demands US show goodwill after quitting nuclear deal

September 20, 2023 at 9:27 am

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi (L) and United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (R) meet at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York, USA on September 19, 2023 [Iranian Presidency/Anadolu Agency]

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi yesterday said the US should prove its “goodwill and determination” to revive the 2015 nuclear pact as months of indirect talks between the long-time foes have led nowhere, Reuters reports.

“By exiting the JCPOA, the United States violated the agreement and the principle of good faith. America should demonstrate its goodwill and determination,” Raisi said in a speech at the UN General Assembly, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between Tehran and six world powers.

Former US President Donald Trump reneged on that deal in 2018, arguing it was too generous to Tehran, and restored harsh US sanctions on Iran, prompting Tehran to gradually violate the agreement’s nuclear limits.

After taking office in January 2021, US President Joe Biden tried to negotiate a revival of the nuclear pact under which Iran had restricted its nuclear programme in return for relief from US, European Union and UN sanctions.

But months of nuclear talks have stalled since last September, with both sides accusing each other of demanding excessive concessions.

“America must build trust to demonstrate its good intentions and genuine willingness to fulfil its commitments and conclude the path,” Raisi said.

READ: Iran Khamenei says, ‘nothing wrong’ with a nuclear deal with West

US and European officials have been searching for ways to curb Tehran’s nuclear activities since the breakdown of indirect American-Iranian talks a year ago.

To cool tensions, Tehran and Washington reached a Qatar-mediated deal last month, which resulted in swapping five detainees each on Monday and involved releasing $6 billion of Tehran’s funds in South Korea.

Further straining already difficult ties, the United States and its Western allies have imposed sanctions on Iran over its handling of months of protests sparked by the death in custody of young Iranian Kurdish women Mahsa Amini.

Immediately after Iran’s Raisi began to deliver his speech, Israel’s envoy to the UN, Gilad Erdan, held up a picture of Amini with the words ‘Iranian women deserve freedom now’, he was then escorted out of the room.

“I left the speech to make it clear that the State of Israel stands by the Iranian people,” said Erdan, according to a statement sent to Reuters by Israel’s mission to the United Nations.