07:06 GMT07 March 2021
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    Tensions between the US and Iran have been high ever since former US president Donald Trump in 2018 withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and imposed harsh sanctions against Iran. US President Joe Biden's administration has pledged to return to the nuclear agreement as long as Iran returns to compliance.

    No US officials have been in contact with Iranian officials since the Biden administration came into power last month, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Tuesday.

    "The answer is no," Price said when asked if any State Department officials have been in contact with Iranian officials since January 20.

    Price also noted that it is still too early to consider Iran's proposal to revive the nuclear deal, adding that "we are a long way from that."

    ​In a Monday interview with NBC News, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that the administration of US President Joe Biden plans to return to the Iran nuclear deal, Al-Jazeera reported.

    Blinken also stated in the interview that Iran was months away from developing a nuclear bomb.

    Also on Monday, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urged top EU foreign envoy Josep Borrell to mediate the revival of the beleaguered 2015 nuclear deal between the US and Iran.

    Zarif also warned Monday that the US does not have an "unlimited" time to return to the deal.

    "The United States needs to come back into compliance and Iran will be ready – immediately – to respond,” Zarif told CNN. “The timing is not the issue. The issue is whether the United States, whether the new administration, wants to follow the old failed policies of the Trump administration or not."

    Zarif also rejected allegations that Tehran is months away from developing a nuclear bomb.

    “Iran does not seek a nuclear weapon. If we wanted to build a nuclear weapon, we could have done it some time ago, but we decided that nuclear weapons would not augment our security and are in contradiction to our ideological views," Zarif said.

    In 2018, the United States unilaterally withdrew from the deal and reimposed sanctions on Iran. Tehran responded by gradually abandoning its own commitments. This past December, the Iranian government passed a law aimed at achieving a full removal of sanctions via a boost of nuclear activities, specifically by increasing the levels of uranium enrichment and limiting the access of the International Atomic Energy Agency to its facilities.

    In January, Blinken said that the United States would reciprocate Iran's resumed compliance with the nuclear deal, but would seek a broader agreement that also covers its missile program. Zarif responded by ruling out any revisions to the original deal and insisting that Washington remove sanctions first.


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