EU could mediate US-Iran dispute: Zarif

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the European Union could play a mediating role in the dispute with the United States over Tehran's nuclear program.

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell could co-ordinate the necessary actions for both sides to return to the nuclear deal, Zarif said in an interview with CNN published on Monday.

Asked whether a return to the nuclear agreement would first require Iran or the US to meet conditions, Zarif replied the necessary steps could be taken simultaneously or in a co-ordinated manner.

This could be championed by Borrell, who as part of his role is co-ordinator of the joint commission for the nuclear agreement, Zarif said.

He raised the prospect that Iran could surrender its recently greatly increased amount of highly enriched uranium "in less than a day" if the US rolled back sanctions imposed under former president Donald Trump and returned to the international nuclear agreement from 2015.

US President Joe Biden's administration has signalled a willingness to return to the nuclear deal, which Trump scrapped in 2018.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington would return to the agreement if Tehran went back to sticking to the conditions laid out under it.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on the US to take the first step toward settling the dispute because it was Washington that left the agreement.