Europe must protect its own economic interests by taking action to cancel out the effects of the US pulling out of the nuclear deal with Iran, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif warned in an interview published Saturday.
According to Reuters, Zarif told Germany’s Der Spiegel news magazine that Iran could “reduce its implementation” and perhaps raise the levels of uranium enrichment activities if the nuclear agreement was put at risk due to “the actions of the Americans and the passivity of the Europeans.”
“The Europeans and other signatories must act to offset the consequences of the US sanctions,” said Zarif.
“What is paramount: Europe should do so not for Iran, but for its own sovereign and long-term economic interests.”
The Iran agreement, struck in 2015 by the United States, other world powers, and Iran, lifted most US and international sanctions against the country. In return, Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program making it impossible to produce a bomb, along with rigorous inspections.
Trump withdrew the US from the landmark nuclear agreement forged under predecessor Barack Obama, saying it was “defective” and unable to rein in Iranian behavior or halt the Islamic Republic’s quest to develop nuclear weapons.
He also reimposed some sanctions and emphasized that they would also apply to other nations that did business with Iran.
Katz was responding to the Iranian nuclear chief’s statement that the Islamic Republic’s program stands ready to build advanced centrifuges and further enrich uranium.
Ali Akbar Salehi told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Iran wouldn’t be deterred by US President Donald Trump’s sanctions and withdrawal from the global nuclear deal.
But Katz said that if Iran presses forward it will face a “direct threat from the United States and its allies.”
The US withdrawal from the deal in May has already badly shaken Iran’s economy, crashing its currency, the rial. Katz said Iran could either cave to Trump’s demands or watch its economy collapse.
Salehi had said he hoped the atomic deal would survive, but warned the program would be in a stronger position than ever if not.
In a veiled threat to Israel, Salehi said the consequences would be “harsh” if there were any new attacks targeting Iran’s nuclear scientists. A string of bombings, blamed on Israel, targeted a number of scientists beginning in 2010, at the height of Western concerns over Iran’s program.
Israel never claimed responsibility for the attacks on the scientists, though Israeli officials have boasted in the past about the reach of the country’s intelligence services. “I hope that they will not commit a similar mistake again because the consequences would be, I think, harsh,” Salehi warned.
Israel earlier this year removed tens of thousands of documents and other materials from Iran’s secret nuclear weapons program archive, stealing them from under the regime’s nose in a Mossad operation in Tehran. The material proved that Iran lied when claiming it was not seeking to build a nuclear weapons arsenal, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, and showed that it intends to resume its nuclear weapons program if it can.