In a sign that the US is a long way from lifting sanctions on Iran, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US will not return to the nuclear deal until Iran comes back into compliance.
“President Biden has been very clear in saying that if Iran comes back into full compliance with its obligations under the JCPOA, the United States would do the same thing,” Blinken said at a press conference on Wednesday.
“But we are a long ways from that point. Iran is out of compliance on a number of fronts. And it would take some time … for it to come back into compliance in time for us then to assess whether it was meeting its obligations,” he said.
Blinken’s comments come after Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said the US must take the first step. Writing in Foreign Affairs last week, Zarif called on President Biden to unconditionally lift sanctions if he is serious about restoring the JCPOA.
Zarif’s argument is that since the US violated the deal by re-imposing sanctions on Iran in 2018, it’s on Washington to revive the JCPOA. Iran gradually began violating the deal in 2019, after waiting a year for the other signatories to offset US sanctions.
Zarif, and other Iranian officials, have made it clear these violations are easily reversible and that they would quickly comply with the agreement if the US gives Iran sanctions relief.