Iran rules out possibility of renegotiating nuclear deal

Tehran: Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday ruled out renegotiating the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal or holding talks over his country’s missile programme.

“Let me make it absolutely clear once and for all. We will neither outsource our security, nor will we negotiate or add onto a deal we have already implemented in good faith,” Zarif said in a video message on Twitter.

He made the remarks as the May 12 deadline looms for US President Donald Trump to decide whether to leave or to stay in the deal.

The nuclear deal was designed to limit Iran’s nuclear weapons program in exchange for the easing of international sanctions on Iran; however, Trump has been criticizing the “sunset clauses” in the deal, which allow Iran to restart its uranium enrichment programme after 2025.

In January, Trump extended sanctions relief on Iran under the deal for the last time, threatening to withdraw from it if the US Congress and his European allies cannot fix the alleged “disastrous flaws.”

“In the coming days, the United States will have to decide whether to finally abide by its obligations,” Zarif said, adding that “if the United States continues to violate the agreement, or if it withdraws altogether, we will exercise our right to respond in a manner of our choosing.”

“Bluster or threats won’t get the US a new deal particularly as it is not honouring the deal it has already made,” he said.

The Iranian minister also criticized the European parties in the deal for what he called their “concessions” to US pressure.

“This appeasement entails promises of a new deal that would include matters we all decided to exclude at the outset of our negotiations, including Iran’s defence capabilities, and regional influence,” Zarif said.

Washington should honour its commitments under the deal, otherwise should accept responsibility for the consequences of withdrawal from it, he added.

On Monday, new US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US will work with its allies to counter Iran’s “malign” influence and support for terrorism in the region. The allegations have been strongly rejected by Tehran.