November 1, 2019 / 3:49 PM / 20 days ago

Iran's Zarif calls on U.S. to return to 2015 nuclear deal

FILE PHOTO: Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attends a news conference, a day ahead of the first meeting of the new Syrian Constitutional Committee at the Untied Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, October 29, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

DUBAI (Reuters) - The United States should return to a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Friday, saying the new U.S. sanctions imposed on Tehran showed failure of Washington’s policy.

“Rather than dig itself deeper, US should abandon failed policies & return to #JCPOA (the 2015 nuclear deal),” Zarif tweeted.

The U.S.-Iranian confrontation has intensified since last year, when U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran’s agreement with world powers and reimposed sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy to force Tehran to renegotiate the pact.

Washington on Thursday imposed sanctions on the Iranian construction sector and trade in four materials used in its military or nuclear programs.

“Subjecting construction workers to #EconomicTerrorism only manifests maximum failure of “maximum pressure”. US can sanction every man, woman & child but Iranians will never submit to bullying” Zarif tweeted.

Iran refuses to hold any talks with its longtime foe the United States unless Washington lifts sanctions on Tehran.

In retaliation for Washington’s “maximum pressure” policy, Iran has gradually scaled back its nuclear commitments since May and has said it will take further steps if European parties to the deal fail to shield its economy from U.S. penalties.

Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Angus MacSwan

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