:: Peoples Time Online ::
Iranian President Hassan Rohani has warned that Washington “will regret it” if the United States violates a 2015 deal between Tehran and global powers to curb Iran’s nuclear program.
“We will not be the first to violate the accord but they should definitely know that they will regret it if they violate it,” Rohani said at a conference in Tehran on April 9, which is National Nuclear Technology Day in Iran.
“We are much more prepared than they think, and they will see that if they violate this accord, within a week, less than a week, they will see the result,” Rohani said.
U.S. sanctions that were lifted under the deal reached by Tehran and six world powers in July 2015 will be reinstated unless Trump waives them again on May 12.
The U.S. president has called on European powers to “fix” what he says are the “terrible flaws” of the deal by that date. He wants new restrictions to be imposed on Tehran’s nuclear and missile programs.
France, Britain, and Germany are seeking to persuade their EU partners to back new sanctions on Iran, mainly on its missile program, in hopes of persuading Trump not to pull the United States out.
Trump accuses Tehran of violating the spirit of the deal, which granted Iran relief from economic sanctions in exchange for limits on its nuclear activity and slowed its potential path to possession of a nuclear weapon.
Rohani dismissed Trump’s threats, saying, “It’s been 15 months since this gentleman who came to power in America has been making claims and there have been many ups and downs in his remarks and his behavior.”
He added that the “foundations” of the deal “have been so strong that during these 15 months of pressure…the structure has remained solid.”
Turning to regional affairs, Rohani asserted that Tehran wanted to be a friendly neighbor and was not seeking to intimidate anyone — an apparent response to allegations by Saudi Arabia that Iran is seeking to dominate the Middle East.
“Our path is clear. We are not thinking of threatening anyone. Our powers, even our military power is not for aggression against any country. Our relations with our neighbors will be friendly relations,” Rohani said.
The relatively moderate Rohani also indirectly criticized hard-line conservatives in the ruling establishment who have suggested that he is too soft on the West.
“We need hard power. We need soft power…. Some only look at one side of the coin,” he said.