Iran threatens to end nuclear pact following US sanctions

Iran threatens to end nuclear pact following US sanctions
Iran's lawmakers are planning to retaliate against new US sanctions, warning they could tear up a nuclear agreement with the country and issue its own sanctions against Washington.
2 min read
03 December, 2016
Iran is plotting retaliation after the US voted to extend sanctions legislation [Getty]

Iran has threatened to resume its nuclear programme in retaliation against the US after it voted to extend sanctions for another ten years.

Tehran has vowed to hit back, calling the Iran Sanctions Act extension, passed unanimously on Thursday, a "violation" of the historic deal, which saw Iran curb to its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of financial sanctions.

"To the world community, the extension of sanctions against Iran shows the unreliability of the American government," state broadcaster IRIB quoted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying upon arrival in India for an official visit on Saturday.

"America is acting against its commitment," Zarif added.

The US sees extending the legislation, which was due to expire on 31 December, as a way of enforcing the deal, allowing for "immediate snap-back" if Iran violated its terms.

However, Iran maintains it was unnecessary, with foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi warning Iran has "appropriate responses for all situations".

Behrouz Nemati, spokesman for parliament's presiding board, was quoted by state TV on Saturday as saying MPs would introduce a measure on Sunday demanding the government "return to initial (nuclear) enrichment conditions" before the deal.

Iran's state news agency IRNA also quoted member of the board Akbar Ranjbarzadeh as introducing a plan to mandate the government to resume nuclear activity.

"The land of our nuclear and knowledgeable scientists has been invaded and they have taken away considerable portion of what we had already gained," Ranjbarzadeh said.

"The ones who have acted in violation of the international regulations and have defied them are the US and the Congress of the country.

"We constantly inform the world... that the US was the initiator of the illegal act and we have no option but reciprocating. Our ways are retaliatory and defensive in nature and are not aimed at intruding into the scientific and ethical borders."

A draft bill to ban imports of US goods is also set to be discussed by Iran's legislature.

"Given the US hostile measure, meaning extension of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) for another 10 years, a double-urgency plan to ban purchase of the US-made consumer goods has been prepared in the parliament," said Iranian MP Mohamad Reda Tabesh, according to Fars News Agency.

US President-elect Donald Trump heavily criticised the nuclear accord as he campaigned for the White House over the past year - calling it the "stupidest deal of all time".

Several fellow Republicans remain vehemently opposed to the nuclear deal and have called for it to be scrapped.