After general killed, Iran says it will take larger step back from nuclear deal
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After general killed, Iran says it will take larger step back from nuclear deal

Tehran spokesman doesn’t specify what measure will be, as Tehran continues to retreat from 2015 accord despite pleas from remaining parties

Iranians burn an Israeli and a US flag during an anti-US protest in the capital Tehran on January 4, 2020, over the killings during a US airstrike of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi paramilitary chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. (Atta Kenare/AFP)
Iranians burn an Israeli and a US flag during an anti-US protest in the capital Tehran on January 4, 2020, over the killings during a US airstrike of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi paramilitary chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said that officials in the Islamic Republic plan to meet Sunday night to discuss their next step out of the nuclear deal and that it will be even bigger than initially planned.

Abbas Mousavi made the comment Sunday during a briefing with journalists after a US airstrike killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

Mousavi said the step would be greater than planned as “in the world of politics, all developments are interconnected.”

“Regarding the fifth step, decisions had already been made… but considering the current situation, some changes will be made in an important meeting tonight,” Mousavi said in televised remarks.

If taken, it would be the fifth step to break terms of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which saw Iran limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

Mousavi did not elaborate on what that step could be. Iran previously has broken limits of its enrichment, its stockpiles and its centrifuges, as well as restarted enrichment at an underground facility.

Iran has threatened the US with a revenge over the killing of Soleimani, with US President Donald Trump countering that he is ready to hit back hard if they it does attack.

Military personnel carry the casket of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani upon arrival at Ahvaz International Airport in Iran on January 5, 2020. (HOSSEIN MERSADI/Fars News/AFP)

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell invited Mohammad Javad Zarif to Brussels for a meeting on lowering tensions during a telephone call this weekend, the EU said Sunday.

“Borrell invited the Iranian Foreign Minister to Brussels to continue their engagement on these matters,” it said.

A regional political solution was the “only way forward,” Borrell said, underlining “the importance of preserving” the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

He confirmed “his resolve to continue to fully play his role as coordinator and keep the unity of the remaining participants in support of the agreement and its full implementation by all parties”.

On Saturday, France urged Iran to stick to the landmark 2015 nuclear accord.

An Iraqi woman holds a placard during the funeral of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani, Iraqi paramilitary chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and eight others in Baghdad’s district of al-Jadriya on January 4, 2020. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)

“France fully shares with Germany the central objective of de-escalation and preservation of the Vienna (nuclear) accord,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

With China, “we in particular noted our agreement… to urge  Iran to avoid any new violation of the Vienna accord,” he added.

The US pulled out of the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in May 2018 with Washington saying the deal doesn’t go far enough to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons or adequately address Iran’s missile development program. The other signatories, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany have all said that along with Iran they want to keep the deal alive.

However the Trump administration reinstated economic sanctions on Iran, particularly targeting its oil exports, ravaging Iran’s economy.

Tehran has warned European countries that if they are not able to produce an apparatus to beat the US sanctions it will also step away from the pact. Europe has so far been unable to come up with a sanctions-beating scheme.

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