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Iran Foreign Ministry on nuclear deal, Afghanistan

Iran on Monday ruled out possibility of any bilateral talks with the new U.S. administration over the nuclear deal saying the U.S. must return to the deal first and end sanctions that are hurting its economy.

Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman of the foreign ministry said at a weekly press conference that his country awaits America's "effective actions" in removing all sanctions that were imposed on Iran following the unilateral withdrawal of former U.S. President Donald Trump from the accord in 2018.

"Iran's response will be clear. As soon as the United States takes effective actions in this regard, it will receive a proportionate response from Iran," Khatibzadeh told journalists during the briefing.

Iran has warned the Joe Biden administration that it will not have an indefinite time period to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

In December, Iran's parliament approved a law under which part of the inspections that 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.

Answering a critical question at the briefing on why Iran was hosting a Taliban delegation, dconsidered a terrorist group, Khatibzadeh said the Taliban was a part of Afghanistan's reality and the Afghan government had been informed of the visit.

A Taliban delegation headed by Taliban political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar arrived in Tehran last week, holding talks with Head of Iran's' Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

There was no immediate comment from the U.S., which signed a peace agreement with the Taliban last February and met its goal this month of reducing the number of troops in Afghanistan to about 2,500.

Occasionally, Iranian and Taliban officials meet for what Tehran says are talks aimed at helping facilitate intra-Afghan dialogue.

Iran sees the presence of U.S. forces in neighbouring Afghanistan and Iraq as a threat on its doorstep and routinely calls for their departure.

Iran and Afghanistan have some 945 kilometres (around 585 miles) of common border.

Associated Press
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