Zarif said says “oil and banks” are the litmus test for keeping the nuclear deal alive. 

Tehran says will boost enrichment if EU acts passively

September 15, 2018

TEHRAN – Tehran says it could increase uranium enrichment if the European Union continues to act passively in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said so in an interview with the German news magazine Der Spiegel published on Saturday.

“The Europeans and the other signatories must act in order to compensate for the effects of the U.S. sanctions,” he stressed.

The U.S. withdrew from the landmark agreement in May and began reimposing sanctions on Iran at the start of August, with further sanctions on the country's finance and energy sectors to follow on November 4.

Zarif said Tehran might act if “the balance of give and take were destroyed,” adding that “oil and banks” are the litmus test. 

This, however, did not necessarily mean that Iran would for its part withdraw from the nuclear agreement, the foreign minister said.

Partial or reduced implementation is another possibility, Zarif asserted.

The foreign minister said European parties to the nuclear deal with Iran must decide if they want to submit to U.S. pressure.

The Europeans needed to decide whether they are ready to let deeds follow their words, the chief diplomat added.

“The Europeans and the other signatories must act in order to compensate for the effects of the U.S. sanctions,” he said. 

The EU has invariably opposed the U.S. withdrawal, calling the deal a pillar of regional and international peace and security.

Tehran has tasked the European signatories - the UK, France, Russia, and Germany - to make their continued commitments to the deal worthwhile by guaranteeing that the country continued to benefit from the economic rewards of the deal. 

Zarif also rejected direct talks with U.S. President Donald Trump. He said Iran would only think about talks with the United States if the U.S. returned to the nuclear deal.

SP/PA

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