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Zarif Defends Iran’s Regional Role, Threatens to Withdraw From ‘Nuclear Deal’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. File Photo. AP

Washington- Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the National Interest magazine that any major US violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) might result in Tehran’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

“If it comes to a major violation, or what in the terms of the nuclear deal is called significant nonperformance, then Iran has other options available, including withdrawing from the deal,” he said.

Later on Monday, Zarif spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York where he said the US was violating the nuclear agreement, pledging that his country would fire back with reciprocal measures.

The Foreign Minister also accused the US administration of failing to lift sanctions in line with the deal.

He denied that Iran was developing missiles to carry nuclear warheads, which is prohibited under the nuclear deal. 

He said the International Atomic Energy Agency has verified Iran’s compliance with the agreement.

Zarif was delivering his speech on Monday as dozens of Iranian protesters gathered outside the Council’s headquarters in New York to oppose the presence of the Iranian foreign minister. The protesters chanted against Iran’s human rights abuses.

Concerning evidence that the Syrian regime had used chemical weapons in the country’s northwestern town of Khan Sheikhoun in April this year, Zarif said: “I have serious doubts.”

Speaking about the choice to hold a referendum in the Kurdistan Region, Zarif said his country has advised Kurdish leaders, including Masoud Barzani, not to go ahead with it.

“I believe the impact on Iraqi security would be disastrous, and the impact on regional security would be disastrous,” Zarif added.