Iran's says ending IAEA snap inspections doesn't breach 2015 nuclear deal

"All our steps (to breach the deal) are reversible...The move on Feb. 23 is not abandoning the deal," Zarif said in a televised interview with Iran's English Language Press TV.

FILE PHOTO: A sign marks the seat of Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) ahead of a board of governors meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria March 9, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/LISI NIESNER/FILE PHOTO)
FILE PHOTO: A sign marks the seat of Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) ahead of a board of governors meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria March 9, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/LISI NIESNER/FILE PHOTO)
Tehran said on Sunday the United States must first lift sanctions on Iran if it wants to talk about salvaging the 2015 nuclear deal, reiterating its stance that it will not make the first move to restore the pact with major powers.
President Joe Biden's administration said last week it was ready to talk to Iran about both nations returning to the accord, which aimed to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons while lifting most international sanctions.
Former President Donald Trump abandoned the deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Iran, which in turn gradually began breaching terms of the agreement.
But Iran and the United States have been at odds over who should take the first step to revive the accord. Iran insists the United States must first lift US sanctions while Washington says Tehran must first return to compliance.
"The US will not be able to rejoin the nuclear pact before it lifts sanctions ... Once everybody implements their side of obligations, there will be talks," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told Iran's English Language Press TV.
"Biden claims that Trump's maximum pressure policy was maximum failure...but they have not changed that policy (towards Iran). The United States is addicted to pressure, sanctions and bullying...It does not work with Iran."
Iran has been hard hit by the sanctions, as well as by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
SNAP INSPECTIONS
Further complicating efforts to revive the deal, Iran's hardline-dominated parliament passed a law last year that obliges the government to end implementation of the Additional Protocol from Feb. 23, if sanctions are not lifted.
Under the deal, Iran is applying the Additional Protocol, which grants the nuclear watchdog the power to carry out short-notice inspections at locations not declared to it.
"Like in any democracy, we have to implement the law passed by the parliament ... The move (to end the implementation of the Additional Protocol) is not abandoning the deal," Zarif said.
"The minute they come back to full compliance, we will come back to full compliance."
The United States and European parties to the deal have warned Iran against obstructing the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) snap inspections.
Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency who is in Tehran to discuss the agency's "essential verification activities" met on Sunday with Iran´s atomic chief, state media reported.
Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, said on Saturday that the agency's concerns over Iran's ending the implementation of the Additional Protocol will be discussed during his meeting with Grossi.
"We will talk to Mr. Grossi about respecting the laws of our country ... but at the same time not creating an impasse for him to continue to carry out the obligations to show Iran's nuclear program is peaceful," Zarif said. Iran has always said its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.