Iran says it will ‘most likely’ abandon nuke deal if Trump withdraws
Iran’s foreign minister warned on Tuesday that Tehran is likely to abandon the multination nuclear deal if President Trump withdraws the U.S. from the agreement.
Mohammad Javad Zarif told The Associated Press that a U.S. withdrawal would mean that Iran is no longer obligated to abide by the terms of the 2015 deal, allowing the country to resume uranium enrichment beyond the limits set by the agreement.
“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 told the AP, adding: “There won’t be any deal for Iran to stay in.”
Zarif argued that Trump would ultimately undermine Washington’s credibility in future international negotiations, including with North Korea, if he decides to abandon the Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran.
Iran’s top diplomat said that Trump has so far shown that the U.S. “is not a trustworthy, reliable negotiating partner,” the AP reported.
Trump has repeatedly railed against the 2015 deal between Iran and the U.S., United Kingdom, China, France, Russia, Germany and the European Union. The agreement imposed limits on Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
In October, Trump disavowed the agreement but stopped short of actually withdrawing. Instead, he threatened to leave the deal unless it was renegotiated to permanently block Tehran’s path to a nuclear weapon.
Trump has set a May 12 deadline for patching up what he considers holes in the Iran deal.
Trump said on Tuesday that he still considered the Iran deal to be “terrible,” but left the door open to accepting changes to the agreement and ultimately maintaining the U.S. commitment.
“We’re looking forward to doing something but it has to be done and it has to be done strongly,” Trump said. “We’re fairly close to understanding each other. Our one on one went very well.”
The fate of the Iran deal is a key topic of discussion as French President Emmanuel Macron visits Washington for a state dinner with Trump.
Macron and other European leaders are pressing Trump to remain in the agreement.