Iran vows to press ahead with nuclear development until West ends ‘illegal behavior’

Senior Iranian official tells EU diplomat that breaches of 2015 deal a ‘legal and rational reaction to US unilateralism’; Israeli official warns against renewing ‘very bad’ accord

Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani sits in a meeting in Tehran, Iran, on June 12, 2021. (Vahid Salemi/AP)
Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani sits in a meeting in Tehran, Iran, on June 12, 2021. (Vahid Salemi/AP)

The head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council vowed on Saturday to push ahead with nuclear development until the West ends its “illegal behavior,” the Reuters news agency reported, citing Iranian state media.

“Iran’s retaliatory actions in the nuclear sector are merely legal and rational responses to US unilateralism and European inaction and will continue as long as the West’s illegal practices are not changed,” Ali Shamkhani said in a meeting with top EU diplomat Josep Borrell.

He added that Iran would reject any agreement that doesn’t include guarantees from the US and Europe or provide the Islamic Republic with economic benefits.

Borrell tweeted that he and Shamkhani had an “important meeting” aimed at bringing the nuclear deal “back on track,” without elaborating further.

The EU diplomat met Shamkhani while visiting Tehran as part of efforts to revive stalled nuclear talks.

Talks on reviving the Iran nuclear deal, which have been stalled for three months, are expected to resume within days, Borrell said earlier Saturday.

Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy speaks during a meeting with Iran’s Foreign Minister at the Foreign Ministry headquarters in Iran’s capital Tehran on June 25, 2022. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

Israel is fiercely opposed to a return to the 2015 deal, which it campaigned against at the time of its signing, viewing Iran as untrustworthy and unable to keep its commitments.

Successive Israeli governments have warned for decades that Iran seeks to build a nuclear weapon.

“If it’s signed, the current deal is very bad for Israel,” an unnamed senior security official told Channel 12 news on Saturday.

“[The agreement] is limited to 2.5 years and will allow Iran economic prosperity that will cause its military capabilities in the Middle East to advance,” the official added.

A person involved with security at the Uranium Conversion Facility just outside the city of Isfahan, Iran, on March 30, 2005. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

The administration of incumbent US President Joe Biden has sought to return to the agreement, saying it would be the best path with the Islamic Republic.

The talks began in April last year but stalled in March amid differences between Tehran and Washington, notably over a demand by Iran to remove its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from a US terror list.

AFP contributed to this report.

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