Leader’s top aide threatens more retaliation over nuclear deal breach

December 14, 2016 - 22:12

TEHRAN - Ali Akbar Velayati, the top advisor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, said on Wednesday Iran will grow more assertive if Washington as one signatory to an international nuclear pact presses ahead with dishonoring the deal.  

The U.S. Senate’s unanimous vote to reintroduce ten-year sanctions, the Iran Sanctions Act, has stoked tensions between the two countries, seen by many a blow to the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and six world powers, including the U.S.

According to the deal, the financial and economic sanctions against Iran must be terminated. In return Iran must put limits on its nuclear activities.

 “The Americans’ measure (ISA) will certainly violate BARJAM (the Persian acronym for the nuclear deal),” Velayati stressed. “We will certainly take necessary measures, too.”

On Tuesday, Rouhani in a directive to Iran’s unclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi ordered scientists to start developing systems for nuclear-powered marine vessels.

People familiar with the issue say to develop the technology, Iran may need uranium being enriched at levels beyond a 3.67 percent purity allowed by the nuclear deal.

Rouhani also ordered Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to work on legal aspects of the ISA.

The decision marked the first concrete reaction to the renewal of sanctions by Washington which Iran says it infringes the terms of the nuclear agreement.

While White House spokesman Josh Earnest told a news briefing the announcement will not run counter to the deal, Velayati underscored that Iran’s countermeasures announced by Rouhani on Tuesday are just tip of the iceberg.

“Directives to Zarif and Salehi by the president is Iran’s first step to respond to the violation of BARJAM by the Americans, but it won’t definitely be the last.”  

The veteran politician also warned Washington of the heavy political price it has to pay in the international arena, saying, “The Americans should bear in mind that it is them who will be the final loser.”

Future days can be disturbing for both sides. With the ISA on President Obama’s table for a final signing into law, Velayati’s warning remarks may be prelude to more concrete actions. 

AK/PA 

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