Iran has warned the Biden administration it will not have an indefinite time period to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.
Iran also said it expects Washington to swiftly lift crippling economic sanctions that Donald Trump imposed after pulling America out of the atomic accord in 2018, as part of what he called maximum pressure against Tehran.
He cited Iran’s ballistic missile program among other issues in withdrawing from the accord, and when the Trump administration increased sanctions, Tehran gradually and publicly abandoned the deal’s limits on its nuclear development.
The remarks on Tuesday by Iran’s cabinet spokesman Ali Rabiei are part of pressure Tehran is trying to exert on the US as it seeks to increase its leverage and get the Biden administration to quickly return to the deal.
President Joe Biden has moved swiftly to dismantle Trump’s legacy by signing a series of executive actions that reverse course on a wide range of issues, including climate change and immigration.
He has pledged to return to the nuclear deal, but Rabiei said there has yet to be any communication between the two sides on the subject.
“The US will not have all the time in the world,” Rabiei said. “We are waiting for the official announcement of their stance as well as the lifting of sanctions.”
In the meantime, he added that Tehran would take a step further away from the nuclear deal by imposing a “restriction” on inspections by the UN nuclear watchdog in late February.
In December, Iran’s parliament approved a law under which part of the inspections the deal had provided for would be suspended in February if European signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal do not offer relief from oil and banking sanctions.
During Trump’s final days as president, Tehran seized a South Korean oil tanker and begun enriching uranium closer to weapons-grade levels, while the US has sent B-52 bombers, the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier and a nuclear submarine into the region.
Iran has also increased military exercises, including firing cruise missiles as part of a naval drill in the Gulf of Oman this month.
Iran has missile capability of up to 2000km, far enough to reach arch enemy Israel and US military bases in the region.
Last January, after the US killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad, Tehran retaliated by firing a barrage of ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing US troops, resulting in injuries to dozens of American soldiers.