TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday hailed the departure of "tyrant” U.S. counterpart Donald Trump, who left office later in the day making way for President-elect Joe Biden.
A "tyrant’s era came to an end and today is the final day of his ominous reign,” Rouhani said in televised remarks to his cabinet.
"Someone for whom all of his four years bore no fruit other than injustice and corruption and causing problems for his own people and the world.”
During his presidency, Trump led a campaign of "maximum pressure” against Iran, pulling Washington out of a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran in 2018 and reimposing punishing sanctions.
The sanctions targeted Iran’s vital oil sales and international banking ties.
Biden’s pick for secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, claimed at a Senate confirmation hearing that Trump’s policies had made Iran "more dangerous.”
Blinken confirmed Biden’s desire for Washington to return to the nuclear agreement, but said that was conditional on Tehran’s return to strict compliance with its commitments.
Tehran has repeatedly called on Washington to lift sanctions first and respect its own obligations under the agreement, besides compensating for damage done to the country because of its hostile policies.
"The ball is in the U.S. court now. If Washington returns to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, we will also fully respect our commitments under the pact,” Rouhani said.
"Today, we expect the incoming U.S. administration to return to the rule of law and commit themselves, and if they can, in the next four years, to remove all the black spots of the previous four years.”
Tensions have grown between Tehran and Washington since 2018, when Trump exited the deal between Iran and six world powers. Washington reimposed sanctions that have harmed Iran’s economy.
Under certain articles of the deal, Iran retaliated to Trump’s "maximum pressure” policy by gradually scaling back its compliance. Tehran has repeatedly said it can quickly reverse its steps if U.S. sanctions are removed.
Blinken, however, said on Tuesday the United States would not take a quick decision on whether to rejoin the pact.
"U.S. President Donald Trump’s political career is over today and his ‘maximum pressure’ policy on Iran has completely failed,” Rouhani said. "Trump is dead but the nuclear deal is still alive.”
Rouhani said, "If they issue an order, they will see an order issued in Iran, no more. If they effectively implement their commitments, they must know there will be effective implementation of commitments on this side.”
He said Iran expects the new occupants of the White House to try to "remove all the stains of the past four years that is if they can be removed”.
"If they show their honesty in action, toward the laws and the resolution that they voted for and commitments they signed on for, naturally we will also implement all our commitments.”
Blinken, however, has said Washington would resume compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers if Tehran does so first.
Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee "we are a long way from there” and said Biden’s ultimate goal is a deal that would also limit Iran’s missile capability and support for resistance movement in the region, something Iran has rejected.
The Iranian parliament has passed a law that demanded the government to resume uranium enrichment to a purity level of 20 percent.
The decision came shortly after top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated in late November.
Iran has now upped its uranium enrichment to 20 percent and is installing cascades of more advanced centrifuges.
By law, Rouhani’s administration has to restrict International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors’ access to its nuclear sites after February 21 if Biden does not lift sanctions and allow Iran to restart selling its oil.