Iran: 'No way' to return to nuclear deal without lifting of sanctions

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Iran's foreign minister said there is "no way" to return to the 2015 nuclear deal unless the United States lifts the Trump-era sanctions imposed after the former president pulled the U.S. from the agreement in 2018.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made the comment in a statement on Monday as Tehran reenters negotiations for rejoining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) after a roughly six-month delay.

Washington and Tehran had participated in six indirect discussions on returning to the deal since April, with the final round ending in June after the election of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, a hard-line critic of the West.

After the last six rounds of talks, Amir-Abdollahian said the U.S. "still fails to properly understand the fact that there is no way to return to the JCPOA without verifiable and effective lifting of all sanctions imposed on the Iranian nation after the US departure."

"The main objective of the upcoming talks should be the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA and the pursuit of the goal of normalization of trade relations and economic cooperation with Iran," he continued.

Washington imposed over 1,500 sanctions on Tehran since former President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the nuclear deal in 2018. Iran stopped complying with the terms of the deal after the U.S. exited it.

Iran has repeatedly said that it would not return to the deal unless the sanctions were lifted. The U.S., meanwhile, has insisted that Tehran comply with the terms of the deal before it gets sanctions relief.

With talks resuming Monday, Amir-Abdollahian said the U.S. returning to the deal wouldn't be meaningful unless "guarantees are presented to prevent the recurrence of the bitter experience of the past."

"I would like to emphasize once again that this opportunity is not a window that could remain open forever," he said. "The Islamic Republic of Iran, while making its determined, strong and active diplomatic efforts to remove the oppressive US sanctions, has devised an effective program to neutralize the sanctions in line with its sustainable economic development program."

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