By Middle East Affairs
President Hassan Rouhani said Monday that Iran’s reaction to the United States pulling out of the international nuclear deal would be stronger than U.S. President Donald Trump expects, Reuters reports.
Rouhani was speaking during Iran’s National Nuclear Technology Day, which unveiled the country’s latest nuclear developments, such as a nuclear battery, Reuters said, and centrifuges for the oil industry.
After years of sanctions against Iran that crippled its economy, the United States, China, Russia, Germany, Britain and France signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran in 2015. The deal included lifts on the sanctions in return for Iran curbing its nuclear weapons program.
The agreement, which was carried out under former president Barack Obama’s administration, is looking vulnerable under Trump’s supervision. The president has threatened to pull out of it if “terrible flaws” aren’t fixed.
European signatories are now pressing for sanctions against individual Iranians who the European Union believes are behind military support for the Syrian government in its civil war on rebel groups. If an agreement isn’t reached by May 12, Trump has threatened to resume the United States sanctions against Iran that he is scheduled to waive.
“The new U.S. president – who has big claims and many ups and downs in his words and actions – has been trying for 15 months to break the JCPOA … but the structure of the JCPOA is so strong that it has not been shaken by such quakes,” Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on state television.
“Iran will not violate the nuclear deal, but if the United States withdraws from the deal, they will surely regret it. Our response will be stronger than what they imagine and they would see that within a week.”
Now, Iran is saying that if the deal collapses it would increase its weaponry even more than before. At the same time, Rouhani claims the country’s missile capabilities are purely defensive.
“We will produce any weapons necessary to defend our country in such a volatile region. But we will not use our weapons against our neighbors,” he said.
Iranian currency dropped lower Monday as fears dwindled that Trump may follow through on his threat.