Iran threatens to reconsider cooperation with IAEA

Iran says it will reconsider its cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog if the U.S. fails to respect 2015 nuclear deal.

Elad Benari ,

IAEA headquarters
IAEA headquarters

Iran on Monday threatened to reconsider its cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog if the United States failed to respect its commitments in the nuclear deal Tehran struck with world powers in 2015, Reuters reported.

U.S. President Donald Trump must decide by mid-January whether to continue waiving U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil exports under the terms of the nuclear agreement that eased economic pressure on the Islamic Republic in exchange for limits on its nuclear program.

In October, Trump refused to certify that Iran was complying with the deal, also known by its acronym JCPOA, but did not re-impose sanctions or abandon the deal itself, leaving any decision about the deal up to Congress.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has released several reports, including one that came out after Trump’s decision, which found that Iran was complying with the 2015 deal.

"If the United States does not meet its commitment in the JCPOA, the Islamic Republic of Iran would take decisions that might affect its current cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," Iran's nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, told IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano in a phone call on Monday, according to Reuters.

The IAEA is in charge of scrutinizing Iran's compliance with the agreement.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said on Monday that Tehran "would not prejudge the decision that America would take on January 13," but said it was ready for all possible outcomes and "all options were on the table".

Deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi said world powers should be ready for a possible U.S. withdrawal from the deal.

"The international community might come to this conclusion that the United States will withdraw from the JCPOA in the next few days," he said, according to Reuters.

"The international community must be ready for this development," Araghchi added, warning that such a decision would affect stability in the region.

Iranian officials have blasted Trump over his decision not to certify the deal. Iran's Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, warned Trump of a "reciprocal measure" if sanctions were reimposed on his country.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has threatened to expand Iran's ballistic missile program in response to Trump's move.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said Tehran will stick to the agreement as long as the other signatories do, but will “shred” the deal if Washington pulls out.