ISTANBUL — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that his government remains committed to a nuclear deal with world powers, despite the U.S. decision to withdraw, but is also ready to resume uranium enrichment should the accord no longer offer benefits.
Rouhani, who had made the deal his signature achievement, spoke following President Trump’s announcement that the United States would reimpose wide-ranging sanctions on Iran. The removal of those sanctions, including on the Iranian oil and banking sectors, had been key to persuading Iran to accept limits on its nuclear program.
The Iranian leader said he had directed his diplomats to negotiate with the deal’s remaining signatories — including European countries, Russia and China — and that the nuclear agreement could survive without the United States.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that he would “spearhead a diplomatic effort to examine whether remaining JCPOA participants can ensure its full benefits for Iran.” The nuclear deal is also known as the JCPOA, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
But Rouhani warned that Iran would begin enriching uranium beyond the levels allowed in the accord if the government decides the country’s needs are not being met. He said Iran would decide in “a few weeks” whether or not to ramp up enrichment.
It was a stark warning from an otherwise pragmatic politician who has long championed diplomacy with the West.
“If in the short-term, we conclude that we can achieve what we want” from the nuclear deal, the agreement will survive, Rouhani said in a televised address. If not, he said he ordered Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization to prepare for unlimited uranium enrichment in the event the government decides to withdraw from the pact. He called Trump’s tactics “psychological warfare” and urged Iranians to resist U.S. pressure on Iran.
A senior advisor to Rouhani, Hesamodin Ashna, tweeted Tuesday that Iran’s “answer to Trump will not be rushed, but it will be painful.”
As part of the nuclear deal, Iran pledged never to “seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.” Iran’s supreme religious and political leader, Ali Khamenei, has declared nuclear weapons to be un-Islamic, saying that its nuclear program is aimed solely at producing energy and conducting medical research.
From the washinton post: continue reading here from the original source