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UN chief urges US to remove Iran sanctions as agreed under 2015 deal

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) Antonio Guterres addresses the media as he arrives on the first day of the European Union (EU) summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Belgium, on June 24, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on the United States to fully remove or waive the sanctions it has imposed on Iran, as agreed under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal.

Guterres made the appeal to Washington in a report to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, amid ongoing talks between the remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal in the Austrian capital of Vienna aimed at reviving the JCPOA.

"I appeal to the United States to lift or waive its sanctions outlined in the plan," said Guterres, who also appealed to Iran to return to full implementation of the deal.

The UN chief further urged the administration of US President Joe Biden to "extend the waivers with regard to the trade in oil with the Islamic Republic of Iran, and fully renew waivers for nuclear non-proliferation projects."

Iran's top negotiator in the Vienna talks, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, has said Tehran has already made its tough decisions to save the agreement and it is now time for the other parties to act similarly.

Since April, representatives from Iran and the P4+1 group of countries — France, Britain, Germany, Russia, and China — have been holding talks in Vienna aimed at revitalizing the JCPOA and bringing the US back to compliance.

The US, under former president Donald Trump, left the nuclear deal in 2018 and initiated a “maximum pressure” policy against Iran, prompting Tehran to take remedial measures by gradually reducing its nuclear commitments under the deal.

Following a year of strategic patience, Iran resorted to its legal rights stipulated in Article 26 of the JCPOA, which grants a party the right to suspend its contractual commitments in case of non-compliance by other signatories.

The new US administration, of President Biden, has said it seeks to rejoin the deal, but it has taken no concrete action so far to make that happen.

Tehran insists that all sanctions should first be removed in a verifiable manner before the Islamic Republic reverses its remedial measures.

Araqchi said last week that all documents were now almost ready for a final deal and it was time for other parties to the accord to make up their minds.

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