Sunday, 18 August 2019

Iranian president threatens to restart nuclear program

Hassan Rouhani

TEHRAN: The war of words between the US and Iran over the latter’s nuclear and missile development program continued.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatened to restart “within hours” some of the activities Tehran agreed to stop under the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“The world has clearly seen that under (President Donald) Trump, America has ignored international agreements… in addition to undermining the (nuclear deal),” said Rouhani. “The United States is not a good partner or a reliable negotiator.”

He added: “The deal was a model of the victory of peace and diplomacy over war and unilateralism. It was Iran’s preference, but it was not and will not remain Iran’s only option.”

This raises doubts about the prospect of the survival of the deal, which puts limits on Iran’s nuclear enrichment activities.

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In recent weeks, the Trump administration has imposed new sanctions on Iranian entities connected to the missile development program after Tehran launched a rocket capable of putting a satellite into orbit last month.

Iran’s continued testing of missile technology has generated a heated debate between Iranian and US officials over the “spirit” of the JCPOA, and whether such activities violate the deal.

While Tehran says its missile development activities do not violate the JCPOA, the Trump administration declared early in its tenure that it had put Iran “on notice.”

Senior US officials have also said they do not draw a distinction between Iran’s nuclear and missile development activities, and its policies in the Middle East and beyond, especially its continued support of militant groups.

Trump administration officials have said they are evaluating the “totality of Iran’s malign behavior.”

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