Iran: No new deal on nukes
Official says Trump ‘maliciously violating’ 2015 agreement
TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian officials, responding to President Donald Trump’s call to revise the nuclear agreement, said they would reject any changes to the 2015 deal, calling it “not renegotiable.”
Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, wrote Saturday on Twitter that the nuclear agreement between Iran, the United States and other world powers was “a solid multilateral agreement” that Trump was “maliciously violating.”
Trump on Friday, once again, reluctantly signed sanction waivers crucial to keep the agreement in place, but he also demanded that European allies agree to rewrite the nuclear deal within 120 days or else he would kill it.
Trump also announced new sanctions against 14 entities and individuals, including against the chief of Iran’s hard-line dominated judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh AmoliLarijani, for his involvement in punishing protesters who took part in anti-government rallies this month.
A series of demonstrations over the economy, which also turned against Iran’s Islamic establishment, erupted in nearly 80 cities nationwide the first week of the year, with several turning violent. At least 21 people are believed to have died during the protests, and nearly 4,000 people were arrested.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry said Saturday that the Trump administration had “crossed a red line of international behavior” by imposing sanctions against Amoli-Larijani. The ministry said that the decision went against international law and that the action would receive a “serious response” from Iran.
Trump’s ultimatum comes at a time when Iran’s economy is struggling, and the nuclear deal has not delivered on the promises made by Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, for economic improvement.
The agreement Trump wants to make with the Europeans should also involve Iran’s long-range missile program, the White House said Friday. Trump also wants Iran to allow the immediate inspection of all sites as requested by U.N. inspectors, and he demands no lapse of the “sunset” provisions imposing curbs on Iran’s nuclear program.
The countries that negotiated the multilateral 2015 agreement with the United States responded with disapproval or caution. Russia called Trump’s remarks “extremely negative.” China said the deal now faces “complicating factors.” And the European Union said it would “assess” the implications.
Britain, France, Germany and the European Union all helped negotiate the deal, and the agreement is as much with them as it is with the United States and Iran.
But while Europeans also are concerned about Iran’s behavior in non-nuclear issues, they have called the nuclear agreement successful and essential to their security. They also have said they don’t think it realistically can be modified and have urged the United States to stick to its commitments.