Zarif: Iran will likely exit nuclear deal, if US does so
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran will “mostly likely” abandon the 2015 nuclear deal should the United States choose to withdraw from the multilateral agreement.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Zarif stressed that if US President Donald Trump reinstates sanctions against Iran, which were lifted under the nuclear pact, he is “basically killing the deal,” thus Tehran will no longer be bound by the accord’s limits on its activities.
“If the United States were to withdraw from the nuclear deal, the immediate consequence in all likelihood would be that Iran would reciprocate and withdraw,” Zarif said. “There won’t be any deal for Iran to stay in.”
Trump has been a vociferous critic of the Iran nuclear agreement, which was negotiated under his predecessor, Barack Obama. He has called the agreement the “worst deal ever” and even threatened to tear it up.
Back in January, Trump said it was the last time he was extending the sanctions relief for Iran as part of the nuclear deal, giving the European signatories a May 12 deadline to fix what he claimed to be the “flaws” in the agreement or he would refuse to waive those bans.
However, Iran insists there is no way it will renegotiate the nuclear pact, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
During a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, Trump reiterated his hostile stance on the JCPOA and described it as a “bad” deal “with decayed foundations,” noting, “Nobody knows what I’m going to do on the 12th.”
Zarif further said a US pullout would undermine Trump’s dialog with Pyongyang by proving that Washington is “not a trustworthy, reliable negotiating partner.”
“They’re prepared to take everything that you’ve given, then renege on the promises that they have made in the deal,” Zarif said.
“That makes the United States a rather unlikely partner in any international agreement. And unfortunately this track record is not just limited to the nuclear deal. It includes the Paris climate agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and a lot of other freely undertaken commitments of the United States,” he pointed out.