DUBAI, March 30 (Reuters) – Iran will not stop its 20% uranium enrichment before the United States lifts all sanctions, Iranian state TV quoted an unnamed official as saying on Tuesday in reaction to a U.S. media report that Washington would offer a new proposal to jump-start talks.
The Biden administration has been seeking to engage Iran in talks about both sides resuming compliance with the deal, under which economic sanctions on Tehran were removed in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear programme to make it harder to develop a nuclear weapon – an ambition Tehran denies.
“A senior Iranian official tells Press TV that Tehran will stop its 20-percent uranium enrichment only if the U.S. lifts ALL its sanctions on Iran first,” state-run Press TV said on its website.
“The official said Tehran will further reduce its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal if the U.S. does not lift all sanctions, warning that Washington is rapidly running out of time,” it added.
Politico said a U.S. proposal, the details of which it said are still being worked out, would ask Iran to halt some of its nuclear activities, such as work on advanced centrifuges and the enrichment of uranium to 20% purity, in exchange for some relief from U.S. economic sanctions.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, withdrew from the deal in 2018 and reimposed U.S. sanctions, prompting Iran, after waiting more than a year, to violate some of the pact’s nuclear restrictions in retaliation.
The odds any progress to revive the deal before Iran holds a presidential election in June have dwindled after Tehran opted to take a tougher stance before returning to talks, officials have said. (Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)