Iran's Khamenei 'ready to abandon' nuclear deal if necessary

Iran's Khamenei 'ready to abandon' nuclear deal if necessary
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said his government should be ready to "set aside" the 2015 nuclear deal if it is no longer in the country's national interests.

3 min read
29 August, 2018
The supreme leader ruled out negotiations with the US after Trump's decision to pullout [Anadolu]

Iran would be ready to drop the 2015 nuclear deal if it no longer serves the country's national interests, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday.

"The JCPOA (nuclear deal) is not the objective, it is only a means," he said in a meeting with the cabinet, according to his website.

"Naturally, if we reach the conclusion that it is no longer maintaining our national interests, we will put it aside."

Khamenei said talks should continue with Europe, which is trying to salvage the historic 2015 agreement despite the withdrawal of the United States earlier this year.

But he said the Iranian government "must not pin hope on the Europeans for issues such as the JCPOA or the economy". 

"We must examine their promises with scepticism," he added.

Khamenei reiterated that Iran would not engage in any negotiations with the administration of US President Donald Trump, despite his offer of unconditional talks.

"(The Americans) want to say they can bring anyone, even the Islamic republic, to the negotiating table. 

"But as I have previously said in detail, no negotiations with them will take place," Khamenei said.

The remarks came after Iran appeared in front of the UN's top court accusing Washington of plotting Tehran's "economic strangulation”, demanding the suspension of US nuclear-linked sanctions against the country.

The Islamic Republic launched a suit at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague over US President Donald Trump's decision to re-impose the sanctions on Iran, after they were lifted following a 2015 accord.

Iran says Trump's move breaches a 1955 treaty. It told the court the measures were already devastating its economy and threatening the welfare of its citizens.

"The United States is publicly propagating a policy intended to damage as severely as possible Iran's economyand Iranian nationals and companies," Tehran's lawyer Mohsen Mohebi told the court.

"This policy is nothing but naked economic aggression against my country. Iran will put up the strongest resistance to the US economic strangulation, by all peaceful means."

The ICJ is expected to take a couple of months to decide whether to grant Tehran's request for a provisional ruling. A final decision in the case may take years.

International companies including France's Total, Peugeot and Renault, and Germany's Siemens and Daimler, have suspended operations in Iran since Trump announced the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal in May.

Air France and British Airways announced Thursday they would halt flights to Tehran next month, saying they were not commercially viable. The British carrier added, however, that the decision was unrelated to the fresh sanctions.

Trump said the sanctions would turn up the financial pressure on Tehran to come to a "comprehensive and lasting solution" regarding its activities such as its "ballistic missile programme and its support for terrorism".