UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres attends a function in Paris, France, June 30 2021. Picture: REUTERS/GONZALO FUENTES
UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres attends a function in Paris, France, June 30 2021. Picture: REUTERS/GONZALO FUENTES

New York  —  UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres has appealed to the Biden administration to lift or waive all sanctions on Iran as agreed under a 2015 deal aimed at stopping Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon.

In a report to the UN Security Council, Guterres also urged the US to “extend the waivers with regard to the trade in oil with the Islamic Republic of Iran, and fully renew waivers for nuclear non-proliferation projects”.

The 15-member council will on Tuesday discuss the secretary-general's biannual report on the implementation of a 2015 resolution that enshrines the nuclear deal between Iran, the US, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China.

Guterres’s appeal to Washington comes amid talks to revive the deal — known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — under which Iran accepted curbs on its nuclear programme in return for a lifting of many foreign sanctions against it.

“I appeal to the US to lift or waive its sanctions outlined in the plan,” said Guterres, who also appealed to Iran to return to full implementation of the deal.

Former US president Donald Trump abandoned the pact in 2018 and reimposed harsh sanctions, prompting Tehran to start violating some of the nuclear limits in 2019.  In February, Iran halted an agreement with  UN nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that allowed additional inspections of Iranian nuclear sites. Some inspections were extended under temporary deals, but those expired last Thursday.

Iran has refined uranium up to a purity of roughly 60%, far above the deal's limit of 3.67% and much closer to the 90% suitable for atomic bomb cores, though it maintains that it seeks only civilian nuclear power and could quickly reverse its moves if Washington rescinded sanctions and returned to the 2015 deal.

Guterres said: “I continue to believe that a full restoration of the plan remains the best way to ensure that the nuclear programme of the Islamic Republic of Iran remains exclusively peaceful.”

On Monday, Iran said it had  yet to decide whether to extend a monitoring deal with   UN nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency, which lapsed last week. Washington has  warned that Tehran’s failure to renew it would complicate talks to revive its 2015 nuclear accord.



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