Iran threatens to 'vigorously' resume enrichment if US quits nuclear deal

Monday, 23 Apr, 2018

"It is a possibility, certainly from a humanitarian perspective, but - but it requires a change of attitude", Zarif told correspondent Margaret Brennan in an interview with CBS News's "Face the Nation" that will air in full on Sunday...

"I do not believe that we are headed towards regional war but I do believe that unfortunately, Israel has continued its violations with worldwide law, hoping to be able to do it with impunity because of the United States support and trying to find smokescreens to hide behind", Zarif told CBS's "Face the Nation".

Further, Iranian state TV quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying during a visit to New York, "Iran has several options if the United States leaves the nuclear deal".

Rome also says there is no guarantee that new punitive measures from the European Union would ensure Trump does not walk away from the nuclear accord anyway.

The other powers in the deal - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russian Federation - have urged Washington to remain in the pact, saying it is the best way to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Zarif spent two years working with former President Barack Obama's administration to establish the JCPOA, which granted Iran gradual sanctions relief, in exchange for evidence the country would disassemble its nuclear sites.

"It is important, as I said, for the administration to show the ability to engage in a respectful discourse", he said.

Trump in January set a 120-day deadline for U.S. lawmakers and European allies to "fix" the nuclear deal or face a United States exit.

A fifth American, identified as Matthew Trevithick, was also released separately as an "associated goodwill gesture". "Then you do not leave much room for a genuine dialogue".

"The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime".

Roni Daniel, military editor for The Israeli News Company, said the disclosure was a signal to Iran that its deployments in Syria "are totally exposed to us, and if you take action against us to avenge (the T-4 strike) these targets will be very severely harmed".

He went on to question claims by western governments that Assad had launched poison gas attacks against the Syrian town of Douma earlier this month, killing at least 40 civilians.

Zarif on Saturday said that independent tests are necessary to determine if chemical weapons were used in Syria, and if so who was responsible. "Why? I will be very blunt".

Iran has said its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes and its ballistic missiles exclusively for defense.

"We will not be the first to violate the accord, but they should definitely know that they will regret it if they violate it", he said.

"Iran has many options and those options are not pleasant", he added.

France's ministry said in March that Iran's ballistic missile program was a major concern.

Asked how Iran would respond if the president walked away from the deal, Zarif said the country was prepared.

Zarif said such side agreements would not resolve Iran's complaints about US failure to comply with its own obligations to facilitate foreign investment in Iran.