Iran has been preparing for months for the possibility that U.S. President Donald Trump will pull out of the nuclear agreement, President Hassan Rouhani said, warning that the U.S. would quickly come to regret such a decision.
Rouhani said government officials received instructions months ago on what to do in the event the U.S. decides to end waivers on key sanctions on May 12, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported. The Iranian president said he’d met with officials from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran in recent days and discussed a “clear path” ahead.
Trump has expressed contempt for the 2015 nuclear accord that offers Iran sanctions relief in return for halting its nuclear weapons program, signaling that he’s not inclined to extend waivers that allow Iran to export oil to some of its biggest customers. Failing to uphold them will effectively end U.S. participation in the deal.
“The U.S. has always sought to sow intrigue against Iran but has never succeeded in the face of Iran’s greatness,” Rouhani said in a speech, addressing crowds at a rally in the northeastern city of Sabzevar. “This time, once again, it is also making a mistake. And if it wants to leave the nuclear deal, it will quickly see that this decision will be a regret of historic proportions.”
European parties to the deal — some of whom, like Germany, have seen a surge in exports to Iran since the deal came into effect in January 2016 — have tried in recent weeks to persuade Trump not to pull out.
Earlier on Sunday, President Emmanuel Macron said France and its allies need to be careful about how they handle Iran because terrorist groups may “prosper” from the conflict between Shiites and Sunnis. Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is also visiting Washington Sunday in an effort to salvage the pact and is due to meet with Vice President Mike Pence.
Macron reiterated that he wants to maintain the Iranian nuclear accord, while “complementing” it with talks on Iran’s ballistic program and regional activities, according to an interview he gave to Le Journal du Dimanche.
Rouhani said in Sunday’s speech that Iran’s defense capabilities are not subject to negotiation.