Iran will drop nuclear deal if US withdraws, foreign minister tells Al Jazeera

Iran said on Sept 23, 2017, it had successfully tested a new medium-range missile (video grab, above) in defiance of warnings from Washington.
Iran said on Sept 23, 2017, it had successfully tested a new medium-range missile (video grab, above) in defiance of warnings from Washington.PHOTO: AFP

ANKARA (REUTERS) - Iran will abandon the nuclear deal it reached with six major powers if the United States decides to withdraw from it, its foreign minister told Qatar’s Al Jazeera TV in New York.

US President Donald Trump has called the 2015 deal an “embarrassment”.

The deal is supported by the other major powers that negotiated it with Iran and its collapse could trigger a regional arms race and worsen tensions in the Middle East.

“If Washington decides to pull out of the nuclear deal, Iran will withdraw too,” Al Jazeera TV wrote on its Twitter feed, quoting the minister.

“Washington will be in a better position if it remains committed to the deal,” the network wrote.

Trump is considering whether the accord serves US security interests. He faces a mid-October deadline for certifying that Iran is complying with the pact.

A State Department official said Washington would not comment on every statement by an Iranian official.

“We are fully committed to addressing the totality of Iranian threats and malign activities,” the official said.

Iranian authorities had repeatedly said Teheran would not be the first to violate the agreement, under which Teheran agreed to restrict its nuclear programme in return for lifting most international sanctions that had crippled its economy.

The prospect that Washington could renege on the deal has worried some of the US allies that helped negotiate it.

French President Emmanuel Macron said last week that there was no alternative to the nuclear accord.

If Trump, who has called the accord “the worst deal ever negotiated”, does not recertify it by Oct 16, Congress has 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions suspended under the accord.