Rouhani hopes Biden will return to Obama-era Iran nuclear deal, calls Trump ‘tyrant’

Tehran: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has called on United States President-elect Joe Biden to return to the 2015 nuclear deal and lift sanctions imposed on Tehran by outgoing President Donald Trump’s administration.

According to CNN, Rouhani said that the ball was “in the US court now” while speaking at a televised cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

“If Washington returns to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, we will also fully respect our commitments under the pact,” he said as quoted by CNN, adding in reference to Trump that “a tyrant’s era came to an end and today is the final day of his ominous reign.”

Tensions between Tehran and Washington escalated during Trump’s time in office, appearing to almost reach breaking point after the US assassinated Iranian general Qasem Soleimani last January. Recent weeks have seen a new round of saber-rattling, amid fears the Trump administration might attempt to provoke a conflict in its final days.

With Biden entering the Oval Office on Thursday, hopes are high for “rapprochement”. Rouhani castigated Trump, saying his four years in office “bore no fruit other than injustice and corruption and causing problems for his own people and the world.”

According to CNN, the Iran Nuclear Deal which was officially titled the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, the landmark agreement was intended to limit Iran’s civilian nuclear program, thereby preventing the country from ever developing nuclear weapons.

The deal was signed by Iran and six other nations in 2015.

“Under the deal, the Iranian government agreed to three key things: reducing the number of centrifuges in the country by two-thirds, slashing its stockpile of enriched uranium, and capping ongoing enrichment at 3.67 per cent, an amount sufficient for energy provision but not enough to build a nuclear bomb,” CNN reported.

Trump pulled out from the deal in 2018, though the agreement itself continues to exist, with Iran, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, China and Russia all still party to it.

Since the US walked away, however, Iran has increased uranium enrichment beyond the limits set by the deal, sparking concern that Iran could in the future pursue a nuclear weapons program.

Biden has expressed a desire to return to the 2015 agreement, writing for CNN last year that Trump had “recklessly tossed away a policy that was working to keep America safe and replaced it with one that has worsened the threat.”

“I will offer Tehran a credible path back to diplomacy… If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations,” he wrote.