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UN chief calls on US to lift Iran sanctions as agreed in 2015

Migration and UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres briefed the international media in Geneva August 3, 2012 after returning from a joint trip to Burkina Faso to review the situation of Malian refugees. (Eric Bridiers/U.S. Mission Geneva)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appealed to the U.S. administration to “lift or waive” all sanctions on Iran as agreed under the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

In a report to the UN Security Council on June 30, Guterres also called on Iran to return to full implementation of the agreement, describing the country’s violations as “worrying steps.”

The secretary-general’s appeals come amid indirect talks between Iran and the United States in Vienna to revive the accord that imposed restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions. The negotiations are coordinated by the European Union.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the pact in 2018 and reimposed harsh sanctions, prompting Tehran to gradually reduce its nuclear commitments under the deal.

The 15-member Security Council on June 30 discussed Guterres’s biannual report on the implementation of a 2015 resolution that enshrines the nuclear agreement between Iran, the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Russia, and China.

“The last few rounds of discussions in Vienna have helped to crystallize the choices that need to be made by Iran and by the United States in order achieve a mutual return to compliance with the [deal],” said Jeffrey DeLaurentis, deputy U.S. ambassador to the UN.

The EU ambassador to the UN, Olof Skoog, told the council that the bloc was encouraged that the United States had “expressed readiness” to lift sanctions tied to the nuclear accord.

“It is clear that time is not on our side and that what might be possible still today may prove impossible in the near future. We have a limited diplomatic window ahead of us that we should not miss,” Skoog also warned.

Iran’s UN envoy, Majid Takht Ravanchi, called for “assurances that all sanctions are removed verifiably and the U.S. will not once again withdraw.”

No date has been set for the next round of talks in the Austrian capital.