The United States seeks to lengthen and strengthen the nuclear constraints on Iran through diplomacy and the issue will be part of President Joe Biden’s early talks with foreign counterparts and allies, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
Biden has said that if Tehran resumed strict compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement – under which Iran restrained its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions – Washington would too.
“The president has made clear that he believes that through follow-on diplomacy, the United States seeks to lengthen and strengthen nuclear constraints on Iran and address other issues of concern. Iran must resume compliance with significant nuclear constraints under the deal in order for that to proceed,” Psaki said in a briefing.
“We would expect that some of his earlier conversations with foreign counterparts and foreign leaders will be with partners and allies and you would certainly anticipate that this would be part of the discussions,” Psaki added.
Former President Donald Trump abandoned the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and Iran in return has gradually breached its key limits, building up its stockpile of low enriched uranium, enriching uranium to higher levels of purity and installing centrifuges in ways barred by the deal.
On Tuesday, Biden’s nominee for secretary of state Antony Blinken said Washington did not face a quick decision on whether to rejoin the nuclear deal and the Democratic president would need to see what Iran actually did to resume complying with the pact.
In related news the Twitter account of Iran’s Supreme Leader on Friday carried the image of a golfer resembling former President Donald Trump apparently being targeted by a drone, vowing revenge over the killing of a top Iranian general in a U.S. drone attack.
The post carried the text of remarks by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in December, in which he said “Revenge is certain”, renewing a vow of vengeance ahead of the first anniversary of the killing of top military commander General Qassem Soleimani in the attack in Iraq.
“Those who ordered the murder of General Soleimani as well as those who carried this out should be punished. This revenge will certainly happen at the right time,” Khamenei tweeted on December 16, without naming Trump, who had ordered the strike.
Earlier this month, Twitter removed a tweet by Khamenei in which he said U.S. and British-made vaccines were unreliable and may be intended to “contaminate other nations”. The platform said the tweet violated its rules against misinformation.
There was no apparent immediate action by Twitter over the Persian-language tweet on Friday by Khamenei, Iran’s highest authority. (here)
Tensions rapidly grew between Tehran and Washington since 2018, when Trump exited a 2015 deal between Iran and six world powers that sought to curb Tehran’s nuclear programme. Washington reimposed sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.
Iran called for action and “not just words” shortly after Joe Biden was sworn in as U.S. president on Wednesday. Biden has said Washington will rejoin the nuclear deal if Iran resumes strict compliance.