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Iran Wants 'Action Not Words' From Parties To Nuclear Deal


Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waves as he addresses people from East Azerbaijan Province by video conference in Tehran on February 17.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says Iran wants to see "action not words" from the signatories of the 2015 nuclear deal, after the new U.S. administration said it could return to the pact that was abandoned by former President Donald Trump.

"We have heard many nice words and promises which in practice have been broken and opposite actions have been taken. Words and promises are no good. This time [we want] only action from the other side and we will also act," Khamenei said in a televised speech on February 17.

U.S. President Joe Biden has said Washington will return to the nuclear pact abandoned by Trump in 2018 if Tehran first resumes full compliance. Tehran says Washington must act first.

Under the deal with the United States, China, Russia, Germany, France, and Britain, Iran agreed to curbs on its uranium-enrichment program in return for the lifting of sanctions.

Iran has always denied pursuing nuclear weapons, saying its nuclear program is strictly for civilian purposes.

Since Trump abandoned the agreement and reimposed sanctions, Tehran has gradually breached the deal's terms.

The Vienna-based agency has said that Tehran told it that as of February 23, it would stop implementing "voluntary transparency measures" including the so-called Additional Protocol, which allows IAEA inspectors to visit undeclared sites in Iran at short notice.

While the step is seen by some as the biggest violation of the 2015 pact yet, Iranian President Hassan Rohani has played down their importance saying ending them would not be a "significant step" as Tehran would still comply with obligations under a so-called Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA.

Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on February 17 that the head of the UN atomic agency will visit Iran at the weekend, just days before a looming deadline for the suspension of some inspections.

Kazem Gharibabadi tweeted that Rafael Grossi will "travel to Tehran on Saturday [February 20] for technical discussions with the Atomic Energy Organization [of Iran] on how to continue cooperation in the light of new arrangements."

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Rohani in a phone call on February 17 that Iran should send positive signals to increase the chances of a return to the 2015 nuclear deal, according to her spokesman.

The spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said the German leader voiced her "concern that Iran continues to fail to meet its obligations under the nuclear agreement."

He said the chancellor also told the Iranian president: "Now was the time for positive signals that create trust and increase the chances of a diplomatic solution."

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and dpa