Iran has indicated it is prepared to restart its nuclear weapons program on an “industrial scale” if the agreement it entered in 2015 with the United States and other world powers falls through.
President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday the U.S. was leaving the deal.
In a statement released on Friday by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, Iran said its representatives would embark on a round of diplomacy with the countries that have not pulled out of the agreement — Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — to see if it can be saved.
In lieu of such assurances, the statement said the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization “has been tasked with taking all necessary steps in preparation for Iran to pursue industrial-scale enrichment without restrictions.”
“Mr. Trump’s absurd insults against the great Iranian nation indicates the extent of his ignorance and folly,” the statement read. “Ever since his election campaign, Mr. Trump has declared his hatred of the JCPOA, an accord recognized as a victory of diplomacy by the international community.”
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) May 11, 2018
Under the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran agreed to curtail its nuclear weapons program for a 10-year period, particularly pledging not to enrich uranium to a weapons-grade level.
In exchange, the Islamic Republic received relief from economic sanctions and the release of more than $150 billion in frozen financial assets from the United States.
“It is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement,” Trump said on Tuesday in announcing his decision to pull the U.S. out of the agreement, which was never ratified as a treaty by the Senate.
“The Iran deal is defective at its core. If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen,” he continued. “In just a short period of time, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons.”
Some of the problems the president outlined include the agreement’s 2025 sunset provision that permits Iran to restart its nuclear weapons program, its inadequate inspection regime (which allows certain military bases to be off limits), its failure to address Iran’s ballistic missile program and its silence on the issue of Iran’s support of terror and proxy wars in the Middle East.
Trump has called for a new agreement that addresses these issues.
During visits to Washington last month, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed with Trump that the JCPOA is not adequate, but encouraged him to remain in it as efforts were undertaken to negotiate a supplementary agreement.
Trump, perhaps recognizing Iran would have little incentive to agree to additional terms, did not take Macron and Merkel’s position.
Trump warned Iran on Wednesday not to restart its nuclear weapons program.
“I would advise Iran not to start their nuclear program,” Trump said. “If they do, there will be very severe consequences.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.