Sep 24, 2021 1 min, 48 secs

Iran remains ready to return to nuclear talks “very soon” but the Biden administration has sent a “negative sign" by failing to lift economic sanctions and imposing new sanctions against Tehran, Iran’s new foreign minister told NBC News.

The foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, told NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell that President Joe Biden needed to back up his talk of diplomacy with concrete actions to show Iran that Washington is serious about restoring a 2015 nuclear deal.

The foreign minister, echoing previous statements from the new Iranian government, stopped short of saying exactly when Iran would be ready to return to talks with world powers to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement.

The foreign minister said “the reality of the matter is that for years, we have not obtained any benefits from the JCPOA.” But the new Iranian government is now evaluating the talks undertaken by the previous Iranian administration, he said.

In the interview, Amirabdollahian said repeatedly that the new government in Iran was focused on obtaining concrete results from any nuclear talks, in remarks that seemed to imply the previous Iranian president’s diplomacy had ended in failure.

from the agreement, reimposed sanctions on Iran and introduced more sanctions as part of what he said was a "maximum pressure" campaign.

Amirabdollahian said Iran had held “constructive talks” this week with German and British officials on the nuclear issue and planned to meet with French officials on Friday.

Asked about Americans imprisoned in Iran, he said Iran was open to an exchange of American and Iranian prisoners held in each country.

The foreign minister, addressing a series of assassinations of nuclear scientists and other suspected acts of sabotage that Tehran has blamed on Israel, said Iran was prepared to retaliate as needed to any attack on its national security.

At a press conference on Friday, Amirabdollahian reiterated his view that the United States is sending contradictory messages by criticizing the previous Trump administration’s approach to Iran while failing to lift sanctions imposed by Biden’s predecessor

Asked about Iran’s approach to Afghanistan after the Taliban toppled the Afghan government, Amirabdollahian said no single political party, ethnic group or tribe could rule Afghanistan

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