Khamenei Tells U.S. to Act, Not Talk, as Nuclear Deal Flails

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told the U.S. it has to act on its promise to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal and not just talk, as a deadline on curtailing international atomic inspections nears.

“We’ve heard a lot of great words and promises, which were violated,” Khamenei said in a speech shown on state TV on Wednesday, referring to the Trump administration’s abandonment of the accord in 2018. “This time around, it’s only about action.”

While U.S. President Joe Biden signaled before taking office that he wanted to engage with Iran, he’s since said sanctions imposed by his predecessor can only be removed once Tehran rolls back its subsequent violations of the 2015 deal.

Iran says the U.S. must act first because it pulled out of the agreement, and Khamenei reiterated Tehran’s pledge to reverse the ramp-up of its uranium-enrichment activities once that happens.

If the sanctions aren’t lifted by Feb. 23, then Iran plans to stop letting the International Atomic Energy Agency conduct the snap inspections Tehran voluntarily agreed to under the 2015 deal. On Wednesday, Iran’s envoy to the IAEA said the agency’s director general, Rafael Mariano Grossi, is due in Tehran on Feb. 20 to discuss Iran’s plan to curb inspections.

Rouhani said earlier Wednesday that nuclear inspectors would still be able to visit Iran and that a safeguards agreement applying to inspections of declared nuclear material would continue.

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