Iran foreign minister: Restoring nuclear deal is responsibility of US

Iran foreign minister: Restoring nuclear deal is responsibility of US
© ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images

Iran’s foreign minister said on Sunday that the U.S. has to take the first steps to restore the nuclear deal as President Biden faces growing pressure to determine whether the U.S. will return to the agreement. 

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif pinned responsibility for the potential revival of the nuclear pact on the U.S., saying that the U.S. withdrew from the deal under former President TrumpDonald TrumpMeghan McCain: Democrats 'should give a little credit' to Trump for COVID-19 vaccine Trump testing czar warns lockdowns may be on table if people don't get vaccinated Overnight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time' MORE in 2018, while Iran has remained a part of it.

“It was the United States that left the deal,” he told “Fareed Zakaria GPS.” “It was the United States that violated the dela. It was the United States that punished any country that remained respectful and compliant with the deal. So it is for the United States to return to the deal, to implement its obligations.”

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Iran’s foreign minister acknowledged that Iran “reduced some of its commitments in line with the deal” in response to the U.S.’s departure but maintained that the onus for returning to the agreement and for Iran getting back to full compliance is on the U.S. 

“Now it’s clear: It’s a decision that President Biden and his advisers need to take, whether they want to break with the failed policies of President Trump or whether they want to build on his failures,” he told CNN. “If they want to build on his failures, they will only get failure as a result.”

Zarif’s interview served as a counter to the Biden administration’s position to consider returning to the Iran deal once Iran returns to fully complying with the agreement. Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenMore than 180 local employees working at US embassy, consulates in Russia laid off Duterte restores pact allowing US war exercises Blinken urges Tunisian president to return country to 'democratic path as quickly as possible' MORE told reporters last month that Iran “is out of compliance on a number of fronts.”

"It would take some time, should it make a decision to do so, for it to come back into compliance and for us then to assess whether it was meeting its obligations,” Blinken said. “We're not there yet, to say the least.”

Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, said last month that the “window is closing” for the U.S. to lift the sanctions imposed by the Trump administration on Iran and rejoin the deal, citing a Feb. 21 deadline.

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Zarif told CNN that “that doesn’t mean the window is fully shut,” saying Iran’s actions defying the deal are “reversible” but that “obviously it would be much simpler” if the U.S. returned to the agreement earlier. 

Iran’s foreign minister also asserted that “the entire nuclear deal is non-negotiable because it was fully negotiated” earlier. 

A report from the United Nations in January determined Iran was moving toward developing uranium metal, a component used in nuclear weapons, in violation of the nuclear deal. Iran has denied that the country wants to create nuclear weapons and said the metal would be used to “design an improved type of fuel.”