Iran's FM calls on Europe to stick by nuclear deal

Mohammad Javad Zarif calls on Europe to defy any U.S. reimposition of sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Elad Benari,

Mohammad Javad Zarif
Mohammad Javad Zarif
Reuters

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday called on Europe to defy any U.S. reimposition of sanctions on the Islamic Republic, should it leave the nuclear deal.

Speaking to the British Guardian newspaper and quoted by AFP, Zarif said Iran would develop much more advanced nuclear technology -- though not for weapons purposes -- if Europe followed the United States in returning to a sanctions regime.

U.S. President Donald Trump has long been a vocal critic of the Iranian nuclear deal, and he repeated his criticism of the deal in his speech at the UN General Assembly last week.

Trump called the deal “an embarrassment” to the U.S. and “one of worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.”

Trump is due to update Congress by October 15 whether Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal. If he decides it is not, it could open the way for U.S. lawmakers to reimpose sanctions on Iran, leading to the potential collapse of the agreement.

While he recently confirmed that Iran is adhering to the nuclear agreement, he and other officials in the administration stressed that the President still has reservations about the deal.

"I think he has made a policy of being unpredictable, and now he's turning that into being unreliable as well," Zarif said of Trump on Saturday.

"My assumption and guess is that he will not certify and then will allow Congress to take the decision," continued the Iranian foreign minister, adding that if the United States scuppers the deal, the decision would prove counter-productive.

"The deal allowed Iran to continue its research and development. So we have improved our technological base," he said.

"If we decide to walk away from the deal we would be walking away with better technology. It will always be peaceful... but we will not observe the limitations that were agreed on as part of the bargain."

Zarif said "walking away" was one of the options being considered by Tehran.

"If Europe and Japan and Russia and China decided to go along with the United States, then I think that will be the end of the deal," he said.

Zarif warned last week that Iran may abandon the nuclear deal it reached with six major powers if the United States decides to withdraw from it.

“If Washington decides to pull out of the deal, Iran has the option of withdrawal and other options,” he said, adding, “Washington will be in a better position if it remains committed to the deal.”




top