President Biden and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei do not appear to be on the same page, potentially leaving Washington and Tehran in a stalemate.
Iranian state television on Sunday quoted Khamenei, who has final say on all matters of state in Iran, as saying the U.S. “must lift all sanctions” if it wants Iran to return to the commitments it made under the 2015 nuclear deal. “This is the definitive and irreversible policy of the Islamic Republic, and all of the country’s officials are unanimous on this, and no one will deviate from it,” he said.
Biden, meanwhile, in a pre-taped interview with CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell that will air Sunday ahead of the Super Bowl, said the opposite. And he sounded pretty definitive, providing O’Donnell with a simple, but authoritative “no” when she asked if the U.S. would consider lifting sanctions first.
With Iran resuming its enrichment of uranium, we asked Pres. Biden if the U.S. will lift sanctions first in order to get Iran back to the negotiating table on a nuclear deal.
“No,” Pres. Biden says, affirming that Iran will have to stop its enrichment program first pic.twitter.com/OPszf15Q1o
— Norah O’Donnell (@NorahODonnell) February 7, 2021
Former President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the nuclear pact, and Iran has recently begun enriching its uranium, raising concerns it could soon reach weapons-grade levels. Biden wants to revive the 2015 pact, which set limits on Iran’s uranium, and Khamenei signed off on the deal in 2015, when Biden was vice president, so there’s reason to believe both sides remain open to it. But it doesn’t look like the impasse will end any time soon. Read more at The Associated Press.