Iran says 'will not stay' in nuclear deal if USA walks away

Arturo Kim
May 4, 2018

Hamid Baeidinejad said that if Washington withdraws from the agreement as President Donald Trump has said he would, Tehran could resume its uranium enrichment and "redefine our cooperation with the agency and some other activities that are under consideration".

Zarif, speaking in English in the Youtube video, said the United States had "consistently violated the nuclear deal, particularly by bullying others to prevent businesses to return to Iran".

"If the United States withdraws from the nuclear deal, then we will not stay in it", Ali Akbar Velayati, foreign policy adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was quoted as saying by the state television website.

Defying Western demands, Iran has repeatedly said it has no intention of reducing its imprint in Middle East affairs and its missile capabilities, which it has said are defensive in nature and have nothing to with nuclear activity covered by the deal.

If the USA walks away from the nuclear deal with Iran, there is a real risk of war, UN Secretary General António Guterres said in an exclusive interview with the BBC on Thursday morning.

"The outcome would be that Iran would in fact be ready to go back to the previous situation", Mr Baeidinejad said in an interview with CNN on Wednesday.

The ambassador denied Iran would restart any nuclear weapons production.

And nothing in Netanyahu's speech this week suggests that Iran is now attempting to build a nuclear weapon - as Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to the USA, acknowledged in an interview with NPR on Tuesday.

And we trust President Trump will take it into account in deciding whether to pull us out of JCPOA.

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Zarif's address comes just days after Netanyahu delivered a "bizarre" speech accusing Iran of harboring a secret nuclear weapons program in violation of the nuclear agreement.

A decision by Trump to end US sanctions relief would all but sink the agreement and could trigger a backlash by Iran, which could resume its nuclear arms program or "punish" USA allies in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon, diplomats said.

Technically, Trump must decide by May 12 whether to renew "waivers" suspending some of the USA sanctions on Iran.

Trump, meanwhile, has been a vocal critic of the deal, which was negotiated by the Obama administration and foreign ministers from Iran, Russia, China, U.K., France and Germany.

Top aides are not aggressively seeking to talk Trump out of withdrawal because he seems intent on it, a second White House official said.

Furthermore, monitors from the IAEA have been able to carry out snap inspections at Iranian nuclear sites.

On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had new "proof" of an Iranian nuclear weapons plan that could be activated at any time.

On Monday, new US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US will work with its allies to counter Iran's "malign" influence and support for terrorism in the region.

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