Iran Calls for Future Nuclear Talks to Drop Sanctions ‘Snapback’
Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president, speaks during the United Nations General Assembly. (Photographer: Tiffany Hagler-Geard/Bloomberg)

Iran Calls for Future Nuclear Talks to Drop Sanctions ‘Snapback’

Any future negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program should drop the so-called “snapback” provision that the U.S. invoked to impose new sanctions on the Islamic Republic, a top adviser said, suggesting the country’s leaders might be willing to amend the deal.

“This mechanism should definitely be put to one side as an irrational principle in the event of any future negotiations,” Ali Akbar Velayati, an aide to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in an interview published on the latter’s website on Monday.

The demand may indicate some flexibility in Iran’s negotiating stance with the incoming administration of Joe Biden. Iranian officials have so far called for the U.S. to lift sanctions and rejoin the deal while ruling out any renegotiation of its terms.

The trigger mechanism in the 2015 pact with world powers allows for the re-imposition of United Nations sanctions if Iran is found to be in breach of its commitments to curb nuclear activity. The U.S. invoked the measure in Sept. 2020 -- a move rejected by the UN Security Council because the U.S. is no longer in the deal.

The comments come at a sensitive time. Last week Iran announced a significant breach of the nuclear deal by reviving production of 20% enriched uranium, hours after it seized a South Korean-flagged tanker in the Persian Gulf.

Trump’s remaining days in office have also been some of the most turbulent and chaotic in recent U.S. history, raising concerns that he may take military action against Iran and destroy Biden’s chances of reviving the accord.

Velayati also repeated Iran’s demand for compensation from the U.S. for damage caused by sanctions.

“They have to compensate us, because they sanctioned us unjustly and illegally, and we suffered a great deal of damage,” he said.

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