UNITED NATIONS — US Ambassador Nikki Haley says Iran should not be allowed “to use the nuclear deal to hold the world hostage.”
Haley commented Tuesday after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement with the US and five other world powers could fall apart. Rouhani said Tehran could quickly ramp up and advance its nuclear program if the US continues “threats and sanctions” against Iran.
Haley warned that “the nuclear deal must not become ‘too big to fail.'” She added that “Iran, under no circumstances, can ever be allowed to have nuclear weapons.”
Haley said Iran must be held responsible for launching missiles, supporting terrorism, disregarding human rights and violating UN Security Council resolutions.
She plans to visit the UN nuclear agency in Vienna next week.
Earlier Tuesday, Rouhani said Iran could abandon its the nuclear deal with world powers if the United States keeps on imposing new sanctions.
In a speech to parliament, he also hit out at US counterpart Donald Trump saying that he had shown the world that Washington was “not a good partner.”
Rouhani’s comments came with the nuclear deal under mounting pressure after Tehran carried out missile tests and strikes, and Washington imposed new sanctions — with each accusing the other of violating the spirit of the agreement.
Rouhani warned that Iran was ready to walk out of the 2015 deal, which saw the lifting of most international sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program, if Washington persisted.
“Those who try to return to the language of threats and sanctions are prisoners of their past delusions,” he said in the televised address.
“If they want to go back to that experience, definitely in a short time — not weeks or months, but in the scale of hours and days — we will return to our previous situation very much more stronger.”
He said Iran did prefer to stick with the nuclear deal, which he called “a model of victory for peace and diplomacy over war and unilateralism” but that this was not the “only option.”
Rouhani said Trump had shown he was an unreliable partner not just for Iran but for US allies.