Rouhani Urges Biden: Rejoin Nuclear Deal and Iran Will, Too

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in a direct appeal to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, said his country was willing to return to full compliance with its nuclear deal with world powers if Washington does.

If he “returns to the situation as it was in 2017, then so will we,” said Rouhani, who staked his reputation on the success of the accord only to see it unravel after U.S. President Donald Trump took office that year.

Trump quit the nuclear deal in 2018 and imposed a crippling sanctions regime on Iran in an effort to isolate it internationally and force it to renegotiate a new agreement. Biden has expressed readiness to rejoin the deal if Iran accepts the limitations on its nuclear activities that it abandoned after Washington withdrew.

While Rouhani insisted that the U.S. has to “make up for its past mistakes,” he also signaled that reparations for sanctions damage wouldn’t be a precondition for reviving the agreement.

“If we start demanding compensation, then it just means sanctions will last longer,” Rouhani said. “We have to decide how big the damages are, who has to pay, will they pay and which forum decides.”

The president also expressed willingness to meet with Biden if the U.S. lifts sanctions and returns to the agreement. If a meeting “were possible this hour, I wouldn’t postpone it to the next,” he said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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