By Middle East Affairs
A senior Iranian official said Tuesday that Tehran might quit even a 1970 treaty created to stop the spread of nuclear weapons if U.S. President Donald Trump pulls out of the 2015 nuclear accord, Reuters reported.
The international nuclear deal – signed by the United States, Iran, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – lifted sanctions in Iran in exchange for curbing its nuclear program. The accord is in danger of falling apart, however, if the European signatories don’t meet demands set by Trump to fix what he called “terrible flaws” in the agreement. The signatories have a May 12 deadline, which is when Trump is set to extend the United States waivers on Iran sanctions.
Iran has previously suggested it would also withdraw from the deal if Trump backs out of it. Now, officials are taking it a step further by threatening to pull out of the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which Reuters described as a deal to “halt the spread of nuclear weapons-making capability, (and) guarantee the right of all members to develop nuclear energy for peaceful ends.”
In a news conference broadcast on state television, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, said withdrawing from the NPT “is one of three options that we are considering.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also reiterated in a live speech on state television that Iran would react “firmly” to a U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 deal.
“If anyone betrays the deal, they should know that they would face severe consequences,” he said. “Iran is prepared for all possible situations.”
Germany, Britain and France have pushed the European Union to pass more sanctions against Iran in hopes that it would encourage Trump to stay in the deal. French President Emmanuel Macron is also currently in Washington, attempting to persuade Trump not to withdraw.
Russia and China say they don’t want the deal broken either.
Reuters reported Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying Monday that Moscow and Beijing would try to block any attempts by Trump to break the nuclear deal.