Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell that Biden needed to back up his talk of diplomacy with concrete actions to show Tehran that Washington is serious about rejoining the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
“They say, ‘We are ready to return to the fulfillment of our commitments.’ However, there is no action taken in order to show and prove the true will to the new Iranian administration, to the Iranian nation. And worse than that, simultaneously, they have put on new sanctions,” Amir-Abdollahian said.
The talks in Vienna aimed at restoring the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), have been stalled since June, when Iran held its presidential election. The government under President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi said it is assessing the results of previous negotiations.
Amir-Abdollahian said it was up to the United States to demonstrate it was serious about returning to the accord after former president Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the deal three years ago.
“In other words, President Biden was and is criticizing the behavior of his predecessor, Mr. Trump vis-à-vis Iran, but at the same time, the volume of the file of sanctions that Mr. Trump built against Iran is being carried carefully by Mr. Biden,” he said.
If the United States was serious about pursuing negotiations, then why was it “piling up” actions, the foreign minister asked.
“This is a negative sign, signal to Iran,” he said.
The foreign minister said “the reality of the matter is that for years, we have not obtained any benefits from the JCPOA.” But the new Iranian government is now evaluating the talks undertaken by the previous Iranian administration, he said.
Amir-Abdollahian said, “we are assessing and I can tell you that we have had many meetings and we will keep the window of diplomacy and negotiations open. And we will very soon return to the negotiations.”