New York: Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the country is ready to restart its controversial nuclear programme if the Trump administration resumes sanctions.
In an interview on Sunday on CBS News Face the Nation, Zarif said “we have put a number of options for ourselves, and those options are ready,” Zarif said, “including options that would involve resuming at a much greater speed our nuclear activities.”
Zarif’s comments were an expansion of Iranian President Hasan Rouhani comments who earlier this month said, “we will not be the first to violate the accord, but they should definitely know that they will regret it if they violate it.”
Zarif, the top Iranian diplomat, worked for two years with Obama administration negotiators to reach an agreement to freeze Iran’s nuclear development. The Joint Commission Plan of Action (JCPOA) that emerged from those talks detailed a timeline for gradual sanctions relief on Iran, in exchange for certification that the country would disassemble nuclear sites.
President Trump, who as a candidate, threatened to walk away from the deal by May 12 if tougher restrictions were not imposed on the country. The White House called for sanctions that would penalise Iran for ballistic missile tests, expand nuclear inspectors’ access, and lengthen limits on Iranian nuclear activity.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a vociferous opponent of the Iran deal reached by the Obama administration, has called on President Trump to dump the deal.
Zarif when asked how Iran would respond if the president walked away from the deal, Zarif said the country was prepared. “Those options are ready to be implemented and we will make the necessary decision when we see fit,” said Zarif. “Obviously the rest of the world cannot ask us to unilaterally and one-sidedly implement a deal that has already been broken,” he added later.