‘We are ready’ for any eventuality, Salehi asserts
Ali Akbar Salehi, the director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, has said that Iran will “act appropriately” if U.S. President Donald Trump “tear up” the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the official name for the nuclear deal.
Trump swore in as the 45th president of the U.S. in Washington D.C. on Friday.
“We can very easily snap back and go back … not only to where we were, but a much higher position technologically speaking,” he told CBCnews in an interview published on Saturday.
“I don’t want to see that day. I don’t want to make a decision in that course, but we are prepared,” he said.
Salehi said Iran is reserving judgment on the new U.S. president. But if he does, as he vowed, “tear up” the nuclear deal, it could quickly ramp that program back up.
He said that he watched the inauguration with the expectation that Trump would mention Iran or its nuclear deal. But he did not raise either.
Salehi viewed the absence of a mention of Iran in Trump’s inaugural speech as “positive”.
In a speech in March to a conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington Trump said that his “number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran”. However, he later backed down from his rhetoric saying it was difficult to violate a deal which has been approved by the UN Security Council.
The nuclear deal was reached between Iran and the 5+1 group (U.S., Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany) in July 2015 and went into effect in January 2016.
Salehi also dismissed the new U.S. administration's intention to develop a "state of the art" missile defense system to stave off attacks from North Korea and Iran.
That intention was announced on the White House website, within minutes of Trump's inauguration.
"The United States — it's more than 10,000 miles [16,000 kilometers] away from Iran, and we have never intended to manufacture missiles that would go that far," Salehi remarked.
It is a "politicized" decision that is "against all rationality," he added.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said last week that Trump could not unilaterally cancel the nuclear deal Tehran signed with world powers including Washington and that talk of renegotiating it was "meaningless".
"The president-elect has shown he is not happy about the nuclear deal, calling it the worst deal ever signed. This is only empty talk," Rouhani told a news conference on the anniversary of the removal of sanctions. "I don't think he can do much when he goes to the White House," added Rouhani.
Writing an article in the Guardian last week, Federica Mogherini, the European Union foreign policy chief who is tasked the monitor the implementation of the nuclear deal, said the nuclear accord now belongs to the entire international community as it has been confirmed by the UN Security Council.
President Obama, who officially left the office on Friday, warned on Jan. 16 that unraveling the agreement would bring “much worse” consequences.
“The Iran deal must be measured against the alternatives,” Obama said in a statement, the Washington Times reported.
He added, “The United States must remember that this agreement was the result of years of work, and represents an agreement between the world’s major powers — not simply the United States and Iran.”
“Trump is bluffing’
“From the very beginning, America’s policies towards Iran have been hostile,” an attendant told CNN at the Friday prayers.
“It makes no difference which president is in power,” he added. “Whoever is in power will have that same outlook on Iran, which is a pity.”
Some of those attending Friday prayers said they believe Trump is bluffing. “This new president Trump, he is making a lot of promises, but I am sure he will not stick with them.”