Iranian supreme leader doesn’t specify what additional steps Tehran may take to violate accord, says US ‘maximum pressure’ campaign has failed
By TOI staff and AgenciesToday, 2:57 pm
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday threatened that Iran would further breach the international accord that set limits on its nuclear program until it obtains the “desired results.”
Since May, Iran has taken a number of steps in violation of the 2015 agreement, including stockpiling uranium above the permitted limit and installing advanced centrifuges for uranium enrichment.
Iran says the moves ae in protest over a lack of economic relief from the deal’s European signatories since US President Donald Trump pulled out of the accord last year and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.
“Regarding the nuclear issue, we will seriously pursue reduction of our commitments. The Government should precisely, thoroughly pursue that until we reach the desired results—and we will certainly by the Grace of God achieve the desired outcomes,” Khamenei wrote on his Twitter account.
He did not specify what additional steps Iran may take in breach of the pact.
Regarding the nuclear issue, we will seriously pursue reduction of our commitments. The Government should precisely, thoroughly pursue that until we reach the desired results—and we will certainly by the Grace of God achieve the desired outcomes.
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) October 2, 2019
The Iranian leader also declared that the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaigned, aimed at forcing Iran to negotiate a more stringent agreement curbing its nuclear program, had failed.
“Recently and through their European friends, they also begged to force our president to meet (Trump) to make a symbolic status for making Iran surrender,” state TV quoted Khamenei as saying during a meeting with elite Revolutionary Guard members. “They eventually did not succeed and the policy will definitely fail until the end.”
Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters, has repeatedly expressed pessimism about Europe’s intentions for saving the nuclear deal, which aimed at preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons in return for lifting sanctions. Iran has routinely denied seeking a nuclear weapon.
Earlier Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran supports a plan by European countries to bolster the nuclear deal.
Rouhani said the plan included preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, securing its support for regional peace, lifting US sanctions and the immediate resumption of Iranian oil exports.
Speaking during a weekly cabinet meeting, Rouhani said: “We agree with the general framework by the Europeans.” France, Britain and Germany had urged Tehran to enter talks about a new arrangement on the nuclear deal.
Rouhani’s comments come amid heightened tension between Tehran and Washington following Trump’s decision to unilaterally pull out of the nuclear deal. The US has imposed sanctions that have kept Iran from selling its oil abroad and have crippled its economy.
Rouhani said the plan could have been discussed during his New York visit last week to attend the UN General Assembly but that Trump scuppered chances by openly threatening to impose more sanctions.
He said Trump in a private message had told the Europeans he was ready but later told media outlets he wanted to intensify sanctions. Rouhani expressed gratitude for efforts by French President Emmanuel Macron regarding the plan.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told state TV later Wednesday that even though Macron’s four-point plan did not include Iran’s views, “it is necessary that negotiations continue in an accurate way. We will continue the communications.”
On Tuesday, Politico reported that Trump and Rouhani agreed to a four-point plan drafted by Macron that would have seen the two leaders meet and declare a resumption of negotiations. However, the diplomatic effort fell through when Rouhani backed out, over what other reports characterized as his deep mistrust of the US administration.
US President Donald Trump speaks during the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York, September 24, 2019. (Johannes Eisele/AFP)
Tuesday’s report followed a New Yorker report on Sunday that said Macron was close to brokering a phone call between Trump and Rouhani during the UN gathering, but the French president’s secretive effort fell apart because of the Iranian leader’s lack of trust in the US president.
Speculation was abuzz last month that the leaders could meet on the sidelines of the General Assembly.
But Rouhani said he would only hold talks with the US if Trump lifted economic sanctions on Tehran.