Iran’s Raisi says sanctions must be lifted to reach nuclear deal

Samarkand, Uzbekistan – Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has said United States sanctions must be lifted to reach a nuclear agreement, and there must be guarantees established to ensure their “lasting removal”.

Speaking exclusively to Al Jazeera’s Resul Serdar in Uzbekistan, the Iranian president also said that it was not yet time to have face-to-face talks with the United States, and he questioned the sincerity of Washington in wanting to reach a deal with Tehran.

“Removal of sanctions should be accompanied with the resolution of safeguards. There are some political and baseless accusations against Islamic Republic of Iran when it comes to safeguard issues,” Raisi told Al Jazeera in the city of Samarkand, where he attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting on Thursday.

“So, we should finalise these safeguard issues,” he said.

“Regarding the guarantees, if we have the trustworthy guarantees, and we have the lasting removal of the sanctions, not temporary removal of sanctions, and if there is a lasting solution for the safeguard issues, for sure it is possible to reach agreement,” the president said.

Months of indirect talks between Iran and US President Joe Biden’s administration to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have hit a dead end.

Former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 deal under which Tehran had agreed to scale back its uranium enrichment programme and promised not to pursue nuclear weapons in return for the lifting of crippling sanctions, which also allowed Iran to sell its oil and gas worldwide.

The 2015 deal was signed in Vienna by the US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, China, the European Union, and Iran. The IAEA had repeatedly confirmed at the time that Tehran was meeting its nuclear commitments fully under the terms of the 2015 agreement.

‘American sincerity’

Al Jazeera’s Serdar said the Iranian president did not see any benefit in face-to-face meetings with US officials yet.

“He said that Iran has tried that before, has done that before, and it didn’t work out,” Serdar said.

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