Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has threatened that the United States would "regret it" and suffer consequences of pulling out of the nuclear deal “less than a week“ after doing so if the US follows through on a plan it is considering to impose stricter sanctions on Iran by May 12.
At a conference to mark National Nuclear Technology Day in Tehran, Rouhani escalated the tone of his rhetoric toward the United States as President Trump ramps up rhetoric of his own, amid growing expectations that the deal won't make it through Trump's first term in office.
"We will not be the first to violate the accord but they should definitely know that they will regret it if they violate it," Rouhani told a conference to mark National Nuclear Technology Day in Tehran.
"We are much more prepared than they think, and they will see that if they violate this accord, within a week, less than a week, they will see the result."
Iran has come out and stood firm on their position not to alter the accord that was put into place in 2015 between Iran and China, the U.S., U.K., Russia, France and Germany.
Iran makes the point that all other parties involved have agreed that Iran has held up their end of the bargain and that the United States would ultimately be the party that looks foolish in a situation where they try to impose stricter sanctions in violation of the initial agreement.
Rouhani dismissed the threat, saying: "It's been 15 months since this gentleman who came to power in America has been making claims and there have been many ups and downs in his remarks and his behaviour.
"(But) the foundations of the JCPOA (nuclear deal) have been so strong that during these 15 months of pressure... the structure has remained solid."
The other partners to the agreement -- Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the EU -- all agree that Iran has stuck by its commitments, as does the International Atomic Energy Association which is tasked with inspecting Iran's compliance.
"Even if one day (the US) can harm the JCPOA, we will be the winner in the public opinion of the world as the nation that stuck by its commitments," Rouhani said.
"If they withdraw, it would mean that they are not committed to their words."
President Trump has long been making the Iran nuclear deal a cornerstone of his foreign policy. He ran his campaign referring to this deal repeatedly as one of the worst deals the United States has ever entered into and repeatedly calling our leaders at the time “stupid“ for putting it in place in the first place.
Back in January, we wrote about the most recent extension of the deal and stated that, at the time, the deal looked like it was going to stay in place, but also noted that "Trump does have a tendency to change his mind." In that article, we explored potential consequences if the deal were to be pulled, including:
Iran resuming its enrichment of uranium - even seeking to make up for lost time - the country’s atomic energy agency has said, according to Russia Today.
“If the suspension (of sanctions) is not continued it’s a violation of the [Iran nuclear deal] and the Islamic Republic of Iran will, of course, take the necessary actions,” Atomic Energy Organization of Iran spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi told state TV, as quoted by Reuters.
Trump has called the nuclear agreement the “worst deal ever negotiated,” and has stressed that he could cancel US participation in it “at any time,” eve refusing to certify Tehran’s compliance with the deal in October. But Tillerson has been trying to work with Congress to resolve concerns about the INARA - the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act - that cleared the way for the US to sign on to the deal.
That will be coupled with diplomacy with European government on addressing these concerns.
Now it again looks as though volatility surrounding the deal could be on the rise.
As volatility rises in one part of the globe for the Trump administration, it ebbs in others. While this comes at the same time as trade war fears with China are breaking out, it was also reported over the weekend that North Korea may be open to denuclearization as an option with their upcoming meeting with President Trump.
If President Trump continues to push the narrative that the Iran deal needs to be upended and changed, it adds Iran to the list of countries (that already includes Russia, North Korea and China) whose political homeostasis with the United States could be in jeopardy. Can the White House continue to juggle all of these geopolitical balls at the same time?