(Adds details, background)
ANKARA, Feb 21 (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogantold his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on Sunday he saw awindow of opportunity for Iran and the United States onsanctions after recent statements, adding he wanted U.S.sanctions on Tehran to be lifted, the Turkish presidency said.
Tehran said on Sunday the United States must first liftsanctions on Iran if it wants to talk about salvaging the 2015nuclear deal, reiterating it will not make the first move torestore the pact with major powers.
Washington said last week it was ready to talk to Iran aboutboth nations returning to the accord, aimed at preventing Tehranfrom acquiring nuclear weapons, while lifting most internationalsanctions.
“President Erdogan, who stated that he wished the new U.S.administration would abandon unilateral sanctions on Iran andlift restrictions on the prosperity of Iranian people, said thestatements on the issue in recent days had led to a new windowof opportunity,” the presidency said in a statement.
“Erdogan said it was the most reasonable course of actionfor all parties to meet at the point of making the ComprehensiveJoint Comprehensive Plan of Action operational again, and thatit is important to keep the door for dialogue open despite alldifficulties.”
Ankara, sanctioned by Washington last year for its purchaseof Russian defence systems, has repeatedly called for a liftingof U.S. sanctions on Iran and a return to the JCPOA.
Iran began gradually breaching the terms of the agreement in2019, a year after former U.S. President Donald Trump abandonedit and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.
Washington and Tehran have been at odds over who should takethe first step to revive the agreement. Iran insists the UnitedStates must first rescind U.S. sanctions, while Washington saysTehran must first return to compliance.(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Dominic Evans; Editing byGiles Elgood and Bernadette Baum)