The Iranian foreign minister’s threat is aimed at getting Europeans “to accelerate their efforts to shield Iran’s economy from US sanctions.”
After already openly violating its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reportedly warned on Monday that Tehran is considering pulling out of the pact altogether if its interests are not protected by the remaining five parties to the agreement.
Washington withdrew from the deal last year and imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
“Iran will leave its 2015 nuclear deal with powers if necessary,” Zarif told a news conference broadcast live on state TV, according to Reuters, “calling on Europeans to accelerate their efforts to shield Iran’s economy from U.S. sanctions.”
Zarif criticized the American sanctions, saying Washington has closed the door to diplomacy on altering the nuclear deal, the news agency reported.
Aside from the US, the world powers with which Iran had negotiated include Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini played a key role alongside then-President Barack Obama’s secretary of state, John Kerry.
In June, in response to a lack of European willingness to defy sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump, the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Behrouz Kamalvandi, announced that the country was raising its uranium enrichment beyond the level permitted by the nuclear deal. The pact was said to be aimed at preventing Iran from building a nuclear bomb.
At the time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that if Tehran acted on its threats, “the international community must immediately impose the previously set sanctions mechanism, the snapback sanctions. In any case, Israel will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.”
The so-called snapback sanctions refer to the part of the nuclear deal stipulating that sanctions would be reimposed on Tehran if it violated the pact.
“Iran can never have nuclear weapons,” declared U.S. national security adviser John Bolton in June.