Rouhani threatens to cut level of cooperation with nuclear watchdog

Iranian president meets with IAEA head in Vienna, blames Trump for any change the Islamic Republic makes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna on July 4, 2018. APA/GEORG HOCHMUTH/AFP)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna on July 4, 2018. APA/GEORG HOCHMUTH/AFP)

Iran could reduce its cooperation with the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog if the nuclear deal falls apart, President Hassan Rouhani warned Wednesday.

“Iran’s nuclear activities have always been for peaceful purposes, but it is Iran that would decide on its level of cooperation with the IAEA,” he said, according to state news agency IRNA.

Rouhani spoke after a meeting with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head Yukiya Amano in Vienna.

“The responsibility for the change of Iran’s cooperation level with the IAEA falls on those who have created this new situation,” he added, according to the Reuters news agency.

Rouhani is currently in Europe to rally support for the 2015 nuclear deal. The foreign ministers of Iran and the five world powers still party to the agreement will meet in Vienna on Friday for talks on the troubled accord, state media in Tehran said.

The top diplomats of Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia will join Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in the Austrian capital, Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported, for their first talks together on the deal since Washington pulled out earlier this year.

During the meeting the ministers will discuss an “incentive package” the European Union is offering to try to persuade Iran to stay in the agreement, IRNA reported.

The meeting will seek “solutions to preserve the Iran nuclear deal after the illegal US action to withdraw,” it said.

US President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out of the agreement in May, to the ire of the other signatories, which along with the European Union have continued to back the accord.

Trump said the “defective” deal did not sufficiently curb Iran’s nuclear program nor address its ballistic missile development and support for regional terror groups.

Iran has warned it is ready to resume uranium enrichment to 20 percent — above the level permitted in the deal — “within days” if the agreement falls apart.

Eric Cortellessa contributed to this report.

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