Iran threatens to resume nuke program if US exits nuclear deal

Iran will resume its nuclear enrichment program if the US exits the nuclear deal, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif threatened.  

By: World Israel News Staff

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned against the US’ attempt to alter the 2015 nuclear deal, saying such a move would send a “very dangerous message” to the world that countries should never negotiate with the US, while threatening to renew the enrichment of uranium.

The US “has not only failed to implement its side, but is even asking for more,” Zarif, told reporters on Saturday in New York.

“That’s a very dangerous message to send to people of Iran but also to the people of the world – that you should never come to an agreement with the United States because at the end of the day the operating principle of the United States is ‘what’s mine is mine, what’s yours is negotiable,’” he said, according to Reuters.

Zarif said there were several courses of action being considered by Tehran if the US changes or leaves the nuclear deal, including complaining through a dispute mechanism set up by the agreement or leaving the deal completely by restarting its nuclear activities.

“We will make a decision based on our national security interests when the time comes. But whatever that decision will be, it won’t be very pleasant to the United States,” he warned.

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When asked if Iran would stay in the deal with the remaining signatory countries, Zarif said it was “highly unlikely because it is important for Iran to receive the benefits of the agreement and there was no way Iran would do a one-sided implementation of the agreement.”

“America never should have feared Iran producing a nuclear bomb, but we will pursue vigorously our nuclear enrichment. If they want to fear anything its up to them,” Zarif said.

Zarif also said that for French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel “to try to appease [Trump] would be an exercise in futility.”

Macron and Merkel are both due to meet with President Donald Trump in Washington this week.

Trump in January set a 120-day deadline for US lawmakers and European allies to “fix” the nuclear deal or face a US exit.

Trump has said he will not renew US waivers for sanctions on Iran when they next expire on May 12 unless European countries agree to strengthen the deal signficantly in order to prevent advanced nuclear tests. The president is also seeking tougher inspections and penalties for Iranian missile testing.

One of the main issues that critics of the deal are eager to address is the removal of several clauses that allow Iran to gradually resume weapons-grade nuclear development starting in 2024. Iran’s development of long-range missiles that can carry nuclear warheads is also a point of concern.

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Israel continues to view Iran as an existential threat, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly called on Trump and the other signatory states to “fix or nix ” the agreement.