Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Monday that America will pay a “high cost” if US President Donald Trump makes good on his threats to scrap the Iran nuclear deal.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with CNN in New York, Rouhani said: “Exiting such an agreement would carry a high cost for the United States of America, and I do not believe Americans would be willing to pay such a high cost for something that will be useless for them.”
Rouhani said such an action by the Trump administration “will yield no results for the United States but at the same time it will generally decrease and cut away and chip away at international trust placed in the Unites States of America.”
The US extended sanctions relief for Iran last week as part of the 2015 nuclear agreement, which Trump has described as “the worst deal ever.”
It was mainly a procedural move, but it was significant, as re-imposing nuclear-related sanctions could lead to Iran ending its compliance with the deal and reverting back to rapid uranium enrichment — something Iran has threatened to do if the US reneges on its end of this bargain.
The next major deadline comes in October, when Trump will decide whether to certify that Iran is complying with the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). If he does not, Congress has 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions waived under the deal.
Rouhani said Iran was ready to respond to the possibility of Trump walking away from the agreement.
“Given that Mr. Trump’s actions and reactions and policies are somewhat unpredictable, we have thought long and hard about our reactions,” he said.
He said any riposte from Iran would come “quite swiftly” and “probably within a week,” adding that “if the US wants to increase the tensions it will see the reaction from Iran.”
Rouhani, who was reelected by a popular vote to a second presidential term earlier this year, was a key architect of the 2015 nuclear agreement with the United States, the European Union and other partners.
The deal led to the lifting of most international sanctions against Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
The agreement is expected to feature high on the agenda at this week’s UN General Assembly in New York, which both Rouhani and Trump are attending.
On Thursday, Trump again attacked the agreement, calling it “one of the worst deals I have ever seen.”
“You’ll see what I’m going to be doing very shortly in October,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One. “But I will say this, the Iran deal is one of the worst deals I’ve ever seen, certainly at a minimum the spirit of the deal is just atrociously kept. But the Iran deal is not a fair deal to this country. It’s a deal that should have never ever been made. And you’ll see what we’re doing in a couple of weeks.”
Trump promised the US is “not going to stand for what they (Iran) are doing,” arguing Iran has “violated so many different elements” of the deal. Continue reading.