Iran says it ‘will accept no changes’ to nuclear deal ‘now or in future’

Responding to Trump’s threat to pull out of accord, Tehran says international support has blocked US, Zionist ‘warmongers’ from attempts to nix agreement

Illustrative: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a meeting in Tehran, Iran, August 1, 2016. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)
Illustrative: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a meeting in Tehran, Iran, August 1, 2016. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Iran said Saturday it “will accept no changes” to its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and will not allow the accord to be linked to any non-nuclear issue. The statement was made in a rebuke to US President Donald Trump, who announced Friday that he would pull out of the accord in a few months if European allies did not fix its “terrible flaws.”

“The Islamic Republic of Iran stresses clearly that it will take no measures beyond its commitments under the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — the deal’s official name] and will accept no changes to this agreement now or in the future and will not allow that the JCPOA be linked to any other issue [than the nuclear issue],” said Iran’s Foreign Ministry.

The ministry added that “The internal solidity of and international support for the agreement have blocked attempts by Mr. Trump, the Zionist regime and the ominous alliance of hard-line warmongers to terminate this agreement or make changes to it.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Friday Trump’s latest attacks on the nuclear deal were a “desperate effort” to undermine an accord that cannot be renegotiated.

“Trump’s policy & today’s announcement amount to desperate attempts to undermine a solid multilateral agreement,” Zarif tweeted after Trump reluctantly agreed to waive sanctions, but warned it could be the last time.

Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during the Tehran Security Conference in Tehran, Iran, January 8, 2018. (Ebrahim Noroozi/AP)

“JCPOA is not renegotiable: rather than repeating tired rhetoric, US must bring itself into full compliance — just like Iran,” Zarif wrote of the nuclear deal.

Earlier Trump signed a waiver keeping the Iran nuclear deal alive, but saying this would be the last time unless Congress and the European countries heed his call to unilaterally strengthen the deal.

Faced with a deadline over whether to reimpose sanctions against Tehran that were lifted under the 2015 nuclear accord, Trump ultimately decided to keep those sanctions suspended for at least another 120 days.

“Today, I am waiving the application of certain nuclear sanctions, but only in order to secure our European allies’ agreement to fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal. This is a last chance,” Trump said in a statement.

“In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal. And if at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately,” he said.

Trump laid out four conditions that must be met, including increased inspections, ensuring “Iran never even comes close to possessing a nuclear weapon” and that there be no expiry date to the nuke deal. The current one expires after a decade.

In this January 9, 2017, photo, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., left, and Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md. listen as US President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with lawmakers on immigration policy in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

His last condition linked the nuclear deal to Iran’s missile program.

“Fourth, the legislation must explicitly state in United States law — for the first time — that long-range missile and nuclear weapons programs are inseparable, and that Iran’s development and testing of missiles should be subject to severe sanctions, the statement said.

If Trump had not signed those waivers, sanctions would automatically be reinstated, putting the US in contravention of the deal’s terms and likely spelling the end of the 2015 pact.

Agencies and Eric Cortellessa contributed to this report.

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