Dubai: Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said he expects US President Donald Trump to try and renegotiate the nuclear accord, heralding “difficult days” ahead for the Islamic Republic.
Zarif, in remarks published by the Tehran-based newspaper Ettelaat, said that neither Iran nor other signatories will accept re-examining the 2015 landmark accord that lifted a host of sanctions on Iran in return for curbing its nuclear programme.
Trump said during the presidential campaign that he wants to “tear up” or renegotiate the terms of the deal he called “a disaster.” While he hasn’t repeated these statements since stepping into the White House, his administration on Friday imposed sanctions against a list of entities accused of having ties to Iran’s missile programme after Tehran carried out a ballistic missile test.
“I believe Trump may try to renegotiate,” Zarif, who led the Iranian team that negotiated the agreement, said. “So, we will have difficult days ahead.”
The UK Germany, France, China and Russia remain supportive of the accord. UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who met this month with Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, another critic of the deal, said on Monday that the nuclear deal was “vital” and needed to be “properly enforced and policed.”
Iran’s supreme leader meanwhile said Tuesday that “newcomer” President Donald Trump had shown the “real face” of the United States, after the American leader accused Iran of being ungrateful for sanctions relief approved by the Obama administration and vowed a tougher stance.
Last week, after Iran tested a ballistic missile, Trump tweeted that the country was “playing with fire,” saying they “don’t appreciate how ‘kind’ President [Barack] Obama was to them. Not me!”
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who makes the final decisions on all major policies in Iran, appeared to respond to the tweet in a remarks carried by State TV. “Why should we be thankful to the previous US administration?” he said. “Because it imposed anti-Iranian sanctions? Because of the extremist [Daesh] group? Setting the region on fire in Iraq and Syria?”
He went on to mock Trump, saying: “We are thankful to Mr. Newcomer, of course, since he has shown the real face of the US and proved what Iran has said for 38 years about the political, economic, social and moral corruption of the US government.”
He added that the Iranian people “are not afraid of any threat.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate who has worked to improve relations with the West, said earlier Tuesday that the nuclear agreement could serve as a blueprint for resolving other Middle East disputes.
As an example, he pointed to Russian-led negotiations in Kazakhstan aimed at firming up a shaky Syrian cease-fire and paving the way for the revival of peace talks to end that country’s nearly six-year civil war. Iran and Russia are close allies of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, while the US and other western countries support the rebels fighting to topple him.