US President Joe Biden has indicated that Washington will not lift sanctions against Tehran as a means to resuming negotiations, saying that Iran needs to stop its uranium enrichment activities “first.”
Speaking to CBS Evening News on Sunday, and asked whether the US would lift its crushing sanctions against the Islamic Republic “to get Iran back to the negotiating table,” Biden answered simply: “No.”
“They’d have to stop enriching uranium first?” his interviewer probed, prompting Biden to nod in agreement.
Earlier on Sunday, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei stressed that Iran is the only party which has the right to set conditions on the nuclear deal.
He said the US would need to lift sanctions before Iran meets its commitments under the 2015 accord.
Xi Jinping Doesn’t Have Democratic “Bone in His Body”
During the CBS News interview, Biden also addressed the US-China relationship, reflecting on his past experiences with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“Well, we haven’t had occasion to talk to him yet,” Biden said of why he hadn’t spoken with the Chinese leader since his swearing-in.
“There’s no reason not to call him. I probably spent more time with Xi Jinping, I’m told, than any world leader has, because I had 24, 25 hours of private meetings with him when I was vice president. Traveled 17,000 miles with him. I know him pretty well.”
Biden signaled he is looking to reset US-China policy from the Trump administration, saying the two nations can avoid a conflict, even as he said Chinese President Xi Jinping as lacking a democratic “bone in his body.”
The US president said he didn’t mean the line as criticism – but he leveled as his administration began to press China on Hong Kong, its handling of Tibet, and its treatment of Uighurs on its western frontier.