Trump, top Iran diplomat trade threats as decision nears
NEW YORK (AP):
President Donald Trump and Iran's top diplomat traded sharp warnings yesterday, with Trump threatening "bigger problems" than ever if Tehran restarts its nuclear programme. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif put the president on notice, telling The Associated Press if the US pulls out of the nuclear deal, Iran "mostly likely" would abandon it, too.
In a wide-ranging interview, Zarif said a US withdrawal from the landmark 2015 accord would undermine Trump's talks with North Korea by proving that America reneges on its promises. He said if Trump re-imposes sanctions, "basically killing the deal," Iran would no longer be bound by the pact's international obligations, freeing it up to resume enrichment far beyond the deal's strict limits.
"If the United States were to withdraw from the nuclear deal, the immediate consequence in all likelihood would be that Iran would reciprocate and withdraw," Zarif said. He added: "There won't be any deal for Iran to stay in."
FEW EXPECT SOLUTION
As Zarif spoke in New York yesterday, Trump was meeting at the White House with French President Emmanuel Macron, who has been leading an effort by France, Britain and Germany to find "fixes" to the deal that would satisfy Trump's objections. Few expect such a solution can be found by May 12, the date on which Trump has said he'll leave the deal if there's no fix agreed to with the Europeans.
"No one knows what I'm going to do on the 12th, although Mr. President, you have a pretty good idea," Trump said, referring to Macron. He said if he does withdraw, he would look to see "if it will be possible to do a new deal with solid foundations, because this is a deal with decayed foundations."
In a bleak warning to Tehran, Trump added that if Iran ever threatens the United States, "they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid."