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Iran will only respond to actions, not words: Zarif to US

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran will take proper action whenever the United States lifts the sanctions to pave the way for its return to the 2015 nuclear deal, stressing that the Islamic Republic takes Washington’s actions, not words, as its yardstick.

“What we have heard from the new United States administration [so far] has mostly been in the form of words and announcement of its positions,” Zarif said on Tuesday at a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov during a visit to Moscow.

“However, it is actions that we [choose to] respond to,” he added.

The newly-inaugurated US President Joe Biden has voiced a willingness to return his country to the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and five other world states — namely France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China.

His predecessor, Donald Trump, ended Washington’s participation in the deal and returned the heavy-handed sanctions that the agreement had lifted.

Trump took the measures unilaterally and in spite of the fact that the accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has been ratified by the United Nations Security Council in the form of a resolution.

After returning the bans, Trump’s administration also began applying secondary sanctions against the countries that would abide by the UN resolution and retain their trade with the Islamic Republic.

Iran began a set of nuclear countermeasures after the US’s departure from the JCPOA and a decision by America’s European allies to toe Washington’s sanction line.

Zarif said in Moscow that whenever the US lifted the sanctions again and stopped punishing the world’s law-abiding countries that choose to engage in legal trade with Iran, as the UN resolution allows, Tehran would be ready to deliver a befitting response, too.

Earlier this month, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei delivered a televised address, asserting that Iran’s “ultimate and definitive” position on the matter was that the US had to primarily lift its sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Ayatollah Khamenei called the Iranians’ right to lead a sanction-free existence “a right that has been usurped” by Washington.

Zarif said, “In line with the Leader’s statement, return to the JCPOA would be possible if the sanctions were removed,” adding, “The Leader declared that if the US lifted sanctions in an effective manner, we too would reverse all of our [counter]actions.”

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