On Sunday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran doesn’t trust the Biden administration’s promise that it will lift sanctions once Iran returns to the limits set by the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.
Khamenei said the US has no credibility because the Obama administration never fully lifted the sanctions it said it would when the JCPOA was negotiated in 2015. “We trusted America at the time of Obama and fulfilled our commitments. But they didn’t. The Americans said on paper that sanctions will be lifted, but they didn’t lift sanctions in practice,” he said. “Their promises have no credibility for us.”
Khamenei reiterated Iran’s stance and said the Islamic Republic will return to the JCPOA limits, but only after sanctions relief is verified. “The Americans must lift all sanctions. We will verify it and if sanctions are … really canceled, we will return to our obligations without any problems,” he said.
The supreme leader said Iranians should not expect to have sanctions lifted anytime soon. “You should assume that sanctions will remain in place and plan the country’s economy based on sanctions,” he said. Since Khamenei doesn’t want the health of his country’s economy to be based on who’s in office in Washington, Khamenei has been calling for new ways to offset sanctions, like boosting domestic industry and production.
Iran has good reasons not to trust the US. Iran remained in strict compliance with the JCPOA, and the Trump administration still withdrew from the agreement in 2018. Now, the new US administration is demanding Iran act first and refuses to make any concessions.
The Trump administration also slapped on a slew of sanctions for alleged human rights violations and other issues not related to Iran’s nuclear program that Biden officials have hinted could remain in place. Earlier this month, the Biden administration sanctioned two Iranian officials for alleged human rights violations.