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Iran says no to bilateral negotiations with U.S. to rejoin nuclear deal

Iran says no to bilateral negotiations with U.S. to rejoin nuclear deal
Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives at the White House last Wednesday to be sworn in as head of the State Department, one day after he was confirmed by the Senate. Photo by Stefani Reynolds/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Although the Biden administration has said it plans to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal to keep Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, Iranian officials say there isn't much time to return and added Monday that they won't negotiate new terms for the agreement.

A spokesman for Tehran's foreign ministry said there will be no bilateral negotiations and that the United States must first come into compliance with the 2015 accord, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

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Former President Donald Trump left the pact in 2018, which led to new U.S. sanctions against Iran and new nuclear activity by Tehran, both of which violate the terms of the JCPOA.

Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the Biden administration must lift the sanctions before Iran will consider returning to limits on its nuclear activities.

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"No bilateral negotiation with the [United States] is necessary," Khatibzadeh said via state-run Press TV.

"The U.S. needs to return to its commitments, and if that happens, it will be possible to negotiate within the framework of the joint commission of the JCPOA."

The agreement was led by former President Barack Obama's administration and limited Iranian nuclear research to the laboratory in exchange for sanctions relief. The pact was cosigned by Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

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In an interview with NBC News, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that Iran could be "weeks" away from having enough material to create a nuclear weapon if it continues to violate the deal.

Blinken also said the United States is willing to return to the deal if Iran does, and then work on a "longer and stronger" agreement.

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