Iran’s top diplomat Sunday warned of unpleasant consequences should President Trump decide to pull the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
The deal, which Trump has criticized as a “major embarrassment” and the “worst deal every negotiated,” eased sanctions on Iran in exchange for a halt on its nuclear development. The deal also crippled our ability to monitor Iran should it violate the accord.
Trump now seeks to improve the deal with a “follow-on” accord that would punish Iran for ballistic missiles tests, expand nuclear inspectors’ access to Iranian facilities, and extend limits on Iranian nuclear activity. Trump plans to walk away from the deal on May 12th if these new restrictions are not added.
Tehran has “many options” if the United States withdraws from the JCPOA, said Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, “including options that would involve resuming at a much greater speed our nuclear activities” such as uranium enrichment.
The only reason Trump hasn’t already pulled out of the deal, continued Zarif, is because his advisers are pressuring him not to. “Withdrawing from it would be seen by the international community as an indication that the United States is not a reliable partner.”
Zarif insists Trump’s demands to alter the deal represent a violation of the accord and has called on European members to “bring the US into compliance” and “make the deal sustainable.” He also suggested Iran would abandon the deal if the US pulls out.
President Trump has the “option to kill the deal, but they have to face the consequences,” Zarif told reporters. “The US is sending a very dangerous message to the people of Iran and the people of the world. It says you never come to an agreement with the US…The situation is creating an impression globally that agreements don’t matter.”
Zarif’s words follow a similar warning issued by Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, who earlier this month said the US would “regret” violating the accord.