In bid to pressure Europeans, Iran again threatens to withdraw from nuclear accord

Iran threatened the remaining signatories to the deal that it would pull out if they didn’t defend Iran’s interests.

By World Israel News Staff

Iran will withdraw from the nuclear agreement if the remaining signatories don’t protect its interests, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif said on Monday at a news conference in Tehran.

“Iran will leave the 2015 nuclear deal with the superpowers if necessary,” Zarif said, adding “We call on Europeans to accelerate efforts to protect the Iranian economy from U.S. sanctions.”

The Europeans have been eager to save the nuclear deal, which has been on the ropes ever since the U.S. administration under President Donald Trump pulled out of the agreement in May of last year.

But Iran has also applied pressure to get them to act, publicly announcing it was breaking limits set by the deal on enriched uranium and seizing oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.

On July 28, diplomats from Germany, France, Britain, China, Russia and the European Union met in Vienna with Iran to discuss how to salvage the deal.

“The atmosphere was constructive, and the discussions were good,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi told reporters after the meeting.

“I cannot say that we resolved everything” but all the parties are still “determined to save this deal,” he added.

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There was a general agreement to organize a higher-level meeting of foreign ministers. A date had not been set.

White House invitation?

Zarif also said at the news conference that the report claiming he’d been invited to the White House by Republican Senator Rand Paul to meet with Trump was true.

On August 2, The New Yorker first broke news of the invitation, which Trump rejected, according to the story. The White House neither confirmed nor denied the report.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina expressed his disapproval in a tweet on August 3: “If true — that an invitation was given to the Foreign Minister of Iran to meet in the Oval Office — no matter how well meaning — it would dramatically undercut our position of strength against Iran.”

By all accounts, U.S. sanctions are having an impact on Iran’s economy.

On July 31, the Iranian government decided to cut four zeros from its currency, the rial. Three years ago, the currency traded at about 37,000 to the dollar. It slumped to around 180,000 last year, after Trump announced he was withdrawing from the nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions.

AP contributed to this report.