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TEHRAN: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Tuesday accused the United States of “dragging their feet” instead of making a decision to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.

The 2015 agreement with major powers, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), gave Iran sanctions relief in return for restricting its nuclear programme.

It has been on life support since then-president Donald Trump withdrew the United States from it in 2018, but on-off talks have been held since April 2021 in an effort to revive it.

“Today, it is the Americans who have to make a decision, but they are delaying and dragging their feet”, Raisi told reporters in Tehran.

Raisi’s comments follow weeks of demonstrations in Iran sparked by the death of the 22-year-old Mahsa Amini on September 16, after her arrest for allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code for women.

The United States and other Western parties to the deal have imposed fresh sanctions on Iran over its reaction to the Amini protests.

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“The Islamic republic wants to obtain the lifting of the sanctions but at the same time it also has the neutralisation of the sanctions on its agenda”, Raisi said, without elaborating.

On Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian accused the United States of “looking to exert political and psychological pressure on Iran to obtain concessions in the negotiations”.

Washington said earlier this month that a return to the deal was unlikely in the near future.

“It’s not that we don’t want to see the JCPOA reimplemented, we of course do. We’re just not in a position where… that’s a likely outcome anytime in the near future,” White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters on October 13.

Washington is currently “focused” on authorities in Iran being “accountable for what they are doing” to the protesters, Kirby added.

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