Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, left, openly weeps as he leads a prayer over the coffin of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in Iraq in a U.S. drone strike on Friday, at the Tehran University campus, in Tehran, Iran | AP/PTI
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States is "a long way" from lifting sanctions imposed on Iran and will resume its obligations under the 2015 nuclear agreement that President Joe Biden's intends to resuscitate.
"We are a long way from that point. Iran is out of compliance on a number of fronts and it would take some time should it make a decision to do so... and time for us then to assess whether it was meeting its obligations. We are not there yet to say the least," Blinken said during a press briefing on Wednesday.
Blinken noted Biden had pledged to resume the United States' obligations under the nuclear agreement, which was ditched by former President Donald Trump, if Iran comes back into full compliance with it.
"And then we would use that as a platform to build with our allies and partners what we call a longer and stronger agreement and to deal with a number of other issues that are deeply problematic in the relationship with Iran," Blinken said.
On the issue of Afghanistan peace process, he said Zalmay Khalilzad was offered to stay in his capacity of United States Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation in the Biden administration, which is conducting a review of previous agreements reached with the Taliban.
"Yes, we have asked him to continue the vital work that he is performing," Blinken said.
Blinken also said that agreements the United States reached a year ago with the Taliban opposition movement are currently being studied by the new Biden administration.
"One of the things we need to understand is exactly what is in the agreements that we reached between the United States and the Taliban to make sure that we fully understand the commitments that the Taliban has made as well as any commitments that we have made," Blinken said.
The deal kick-started an intra-Afghan reconciliation process and allowed the United States to reduce its military presence in Afghanistan to 2,500 servicemen.
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First Published: Jan 28 2021 | 6:25 AM IST