On 20 February, Ali Rabiei, an Iranian spokesman, said that they are confident about the lifting of US sanctions even though there are diplomatic tensions between Tehran and Washington. While the statement to the country’s national news agency does not provide a new position from Iran’s perspective, it does signal its desire to end the bilateral tensions between the two countries.
Following a White House statement the day before, saying the US will not take any further actions in response to the pressures put forth by Tehran during the week, Rabiei indicated that they predict diplomatic initiatives will emerge favorably in spite of the diplomatic tensions. Furthermore, these entanglements are a natural prelude for the revival of the nuclear deal and the two parties’ recommitment to their obligations, including the lifting of sanctions, said Rabiei.
Under the deal made with major powers, later defined officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Tehran agreed to limit its nuclear program on the condition of the lifting of international sanctions imposed on itself. Sanctions were imposed once again during the Trump administration when the US was withdrawn from the JCPOA in 2018. In response, Iran also began to violate some of its commitments related to the nuclear deal.
Further pressure was implemented on the revival of the deal when a law by the Iranian Parliament was passed, which will block the inspection of Iranian nuclear sites by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA): a voluntary transparency act under the JCPOA deal. After the threats of Iran to block the snap inspections, the Chairman of the IAEA Rafael Grossi announced he will be visiting the Iranian capital on Saturday to discuss on how to work with the country in light of the possible blockage of IAEA inspections, with Iranian officials.