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Monday 20 November 2017

Iran repeats opposition to renegotiation of nuclear deal

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani (AP)
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani (AP)

Iran's foreign minister has warned of a tough response from Tehran if President Donald Trump presses ahead with his threats to scuttle the landmark 2015 nuclear deal.

The state-run Irna news agency reported that the country's top diplomat, Mohammad Javad Zarif, briefed politicians during a closed session of parliament on Mr Trump's anticipated refusal to certify Iran's nuclear deal with world powers.

Mr Zarif said, if the United States acts against the deal, Iran will offer a "tougher response", according to the report.

Mr Zarif also told politicians Iran "will never renegotiate" the deal, according to a report on the semi-official Fars news agency.

Mr Trump is expected to decline this week to certify Iran's compliance in the 2015 agreement, referring it to Congress.

He also is expected to target the country's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard with new sanctions.

Later on Wednesday, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, told a Cabinet meeting Mr Trump's speech will make clear "which is the rebellious government, and which is the side that violates international rules".

If the US backs out of the nuclear deal, "it won't be our failure at all, but a failure for the other side", Mr Rouhani said, according to state TV.

Politician Behrouz Nemati warned in comments to Irna that any new sanctions Mr Trump imposes on the Revolutionary Guard "would mean sanctions against the entire Iranian nation".

In Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May urged the United States to extend the nuclear deal, saying it is "vitally important for regional security".

Mrs May's office said she and Mr Trump spoke late Tuesday and both sides agreed their teams would remain in contact ahead of Mr Trump's decision on the pact.

Mr Trump has threatened to scrap the agreement, calling it the "worst deal ever".

He must re-certify the measure by October 15 because of unilateral conditions set by Congress.

In a rare case of the UK publicly pressuring the US, the British government said Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had called US secretary of state Rex Tillerson to underscore British support for the deal.

Mr Johnson said the agreement, under which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions, "was the culmination of 13 years of painstaking diplomacy and has increased security, both in the region and in the UK.

"It is these security implications that we continue to encourage the US to consider."

The Foreign Office said Johnson also spoke to Mr Zarif and will meet Ali Akhbar Salehi, Iran's vice president and head of its nuclear agency, in London on Wednesday.

China, France, Russia, Germany, Britain and the European Union all ratified the deal.

AP

Press Association

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