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US should have never pulled out of JCPOA: Biden

US President Joe Biden has criticized his predecessor’s policy on the Iran nuclear deal, saying Washington should have never pulled out of the agreement.

“Iran has continued to agree to engage in discussions, in direct discussions with us and with our partners on how we move forward and what is needed to allow us to move back into the JOPCA [JCPOA or The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action], so that we part of it again, that we should have never gotten out of it, in my view,” Biden said on Friday at a news conference in Washington, DC.

At the joint news conference with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Biden said it was premature to make a judgment on the outcome of the nuclear talks.

“We are, though, nonetheless pleased that … we’re still talking,” Biden said.

Iran announced on Friday that Iran has begun 60% uranium enrichment at its Natanz plant, its highest level ever, days after an explosion at the site that Tehran blamed on Israel.

At the news conference, Biden also described Iran’s decision to start uranium enrichment to 60-percent purity as unhelpful, claiming it is against the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Tehran says its steps away from the accord are in response to the US withdrawal and the other signatories’ failure to fulfill their share of commitments.

Iran and the remaining parties to the nuclear deal have been holding talks in Vienna to salvage the accord.

Despite Biden’s claims of bilateral talks, the Islamic Republic has ruled out any direct or indirect talks with the US in Vienna.

Tehran says it will only reverse its decision to start uranium enrichment after it has verified the removal of all US sanctions.

Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump re-imposed a raft of US sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from the nuclear deal in 2018.

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