Iran’s foreign minister has said that the country has “other options” in the event that US President-elect Donald Trump follows through on his public statements to tear up the hard-won nuclear deal signed last year.
“Our strong preference as a party that has remained fully committed and implemented its side of the bargain … is for every member and participant and for the international community to continue to remain committed to the agreement,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters in Bratislava, where he was meeting the Slovak foreign minister.
The agreement reached in July 2015 between Iran and six world powers lifted decades of crushing sanctions on the Middle Eastern state in exchange for caps on its enrichment of uranium and blocks to other avenues for creating weapons-grade nuclear fuel, all to be verified by UN inspectors. The deal came after nearly a decade of negotiation.
Trump has called the international agreement a “disaster” and “the worst deal ever negotiated.” However, he has also said that though it’s a “horrible contract,” it will need to be upheld. “We have an agreement; it’s a horrible agreement. I will make that agreement so tough and if they break it, they will have hell to pay,” he said, according to a Washington Times story in September 2015. The Huffington Post points out that the sanctions relief the deal provides to Iran must be renewed every 120 to 180 days. Trump could withhold sanctions relief to exert the leverage needed to renegotiate the contract, another option he presented during his campaign.
“Of course Iran’s options are not limited but our hope and our desire and our preference is for the full implementation of the nuclear agreement, which is not bilateral for one side to be able to scrap,” Zarif said in Bratislava, according to Reuters.
When asked if Iran would resume nuclear enrichment again if the deal failed, he repeated only that the country had “other options if the US unwisely decides to move away from its obligations under the agreement.” He also said he did not expect another long nuclear negotiation.