Iran threatens to speed movement away from nuclear deal with remaining nations

An Iranian official said Monday that the country will more aggressively move away from the Obama-era multinational 2015 nuclear agreement if the countries that remain part of it does not address its concerns.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, shown speaking during a ceremony in Tehran last week, said he will only talk with the United States if sanctions are lifted. Photo by Iranian Presidential Office

President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal last year and has tried to force Iran back to the bargaining table by ratcheting up sanctions against it. The other countries involved in the deal — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — along with the European Union have stood by it.

Since then, Iran as slowly walked away from its commitments under the deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and increased its nuclear activities.

“The third step will be heavier than the first and second ones so it can strike a balance between the Islamic Republic’s rights and obligations in the JCPOA,” Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told state-run media.

Mousavi said Iran has been trying to save the deal in meeting with French officials. He said that “despite all these measures, Iran has got prepared for reducing its commitments if the European parties do not show enough determination.”

While Trump has hinted that he would be willing to talk with Iranian leaders about the sanctions, President Hassan Rouhani said last week that there will be no progress until the United States lifts sanctions.

“In the relations between Iran and the United States, we will not witness any positive development unless the United States abandons the sanctions and corrects the wrong path it has chosen,” Rouhani said.

ByClyde Hughes