Zarif warns Trump of 'reciprocal measures'

Iran's Foreign Minister again criticizes Trump for decertifying nuclear deal.

Elad Benari ,

Mohammad Javad Zarif
Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iran's Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, once again criticized U.S. President Donald Trump for his speech outlining an aggressive new strategy against Iran, AFP reported Sunday.

In televised remarks broadcast late on Saturday, Zarif claimed Trump's speech violated Tehran's nuclear agreement with world powers.

Trump's speech contravened three articles of the 2015 deal, Zarif claimed, including the requirement to implement the accord "in good faith" and for the U.S. to "refrain from re-introducing or re-imposing" sanctions related to Iran's nuclear program.

"I have already written nine letters (to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini) listing the cases where the United States has failed to act on or delayed its commitments under the JCPOA," Zarif said, using the technical name for the nuclear deal.

Zarif said he would write a new letter regarding Trump's speech on Friday, and warned of a "reciprocal measure" if sanctions were reimposed.

In his speech, Trump said he would not recertify the nuclear deal and warned he would terminate the deal unless Congress introduced tough new sanctions against Iran's missile and nuclear programs.

Trump also said the U.S. would level new sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and vowed to block the Islamic Republic's financing of terrorism around the globe.

Zarif responded by saying, according to AFP, "Our achievements in the field of ballistics are in no way negotiable.”

"We live in a region into which hundreds of billions of dollars of lethal American weapons have poured, turning it into a gunpowder storehouse... so we have the right to have defensive means," he added.

His comments followed a tweet in which he expressed support for the IRGC following Trump's announcement of sanctions.

“Today, Iranians--boys, girls, men, women--are ALL IRGC; standing firm with those who defend us & the region against aggression & terror,” tweeted Zarif.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also criticized Trump's speech and vowed to expand Iran's ballistic missile program.

Speaking on Iranian television, Rouhani dismissed Trump's “insults and fake accusations", and said that Iran would stick to the nuclear agreement as long as it was beneficial.

Rouhani also defended the IRGC and said, "The Iranian nation has not and will never bow to any foreign pressure. Iran and the deal are stronger than ever. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps will continue its fight against regional terrorists."

Meanwhile, Iran's Atomic Energy Organization chief Ali Akbar Salehi said the country would no longer abide by the Additional Protocol of the Non-Proliferation Treaty if the nuclear deal fell apart.

"Without the nuclear agreement its application is meaningless," Salehi told state television, according to AFP, before repeating his warning that Iran could very quickly return to the production of highly enriched uranium if the U.S. reimposed sanctions.

"If one day, the leaders of the country conclude that the nuclear agreement is no longer to the benefit of the country and decide to resume 20 percent enrichment we can do so within four days," he warned.