Majid Takht Ravanchi

New York (IP) - Iran's UN ambassador said that the country has no plans to hold talks with the Biden administration and is waiting for the new US president to take the first step to lift sanctions and return the US to the 2015 multinational nuclear agreement.

Iran PressAmerica: In his first interview since US President Joe Biden was sworn in last week, Amb. Majid Takht Ravanchi told NBC's Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel that Iran has not spoken to the new administration yet.

"No, there has not been any conversation between Iran and the US after Biden came into office," Ravanchi said.

Asked if there were plans to open up a direct dialogue with Washington or indirect communication through an intermediary, perhaps via the Swiss government, Ravanchi said: "We are not planning to initiate anything."

The diplomat also went on to say that Tehran was not prepared to offer goodwill gestures or confidence-building steps until the US returned to the nuclear agreement it left in 2018.

"In the meantime, Iran was in no rush," Ravanchi added.

"It's up to the US to decide what course of action to take. We're not in a hurry," he said.

As a candidate, Biden said he would have the United States return to the agreement if Iran met its obligations under the deal.

Citing Biden's statements, Ravanchi said that Iran wanted to see the new president make good on his promises, and if he did, Tehran would be ready to once again abide by the terms of the accord.

"The ball is in the US court," Ravanchi said.

"It is totally up to the new administration. So as soon as they implement their obligations, Iran has said on numerous occasions that Iran will return to the full implementation of its undertakings," he added.

Ravanchi said that Iran does not seek a nuclear arsenal and simply wants to build a nuclear energy program for civilian purposes.

He also said that it would be 'absurd' for Iran to take conciliatory steps now when it was the US that violated the 2015 agreement by withdrawing.

"Words are not enough. We need to see action on the part of the United States," he said.

He also added that Iran would be open to an exchange of Iranian nationals detained in the United States in return for American citizens imprisoned in Iran.

"We are ready to engage on a comprehensive exchange of all prisoners or detainees on both sides, in the United States, in Iran, and those that are waiting to be extradited to the United States. And this is a very simple and straightforward proposition," Ravanchi said.

He said that ex-President Donald Trump started a very dangerous game by assassinating General Soleimani. And we said that this cannot be unpunished. So this is our position."


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