Rouhani says Iran may remain part of nuclear accord
14 May, 2018, 8:05 am
DUBAI – President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that Iran would remain committed to the 2015 nuclear deal if its interests were protected, while his foreign minister hoped the pact could be redesigned without Washington as a member.
The U.S. withdrawal from the accord on Tuesday was a “violation of morals”, Rouhani said in remarks carried by state television.
“If the remaining five countries continue to abide by the agreement, Iran will remain in the deal despite the will of America,” he said.
President Donald Trump’s pullout has upset European allies, cast uncertainty over global oil supplies and raised the risk of conflict in the Middle East.
It has also highlighted divisions among Iran’s political elite.
Rouhani made similarly conciliatory comments on Tuesday, and on Saturday, foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif began a tour of other signatory nations in an attempt to save the deal.
Zarif said in Beijing on Sunday: “We hope that with this visit to China and other countries we will be able to construct a clear future design for the comprehensive agreement.”
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Zarif’s tour would improve understanding of Iran’s position and help Tehran protect its legitimate interests.
“China is willing to maintain communication and coordination with all relevant parties, including Iran, and take an objective, fair and responsible attitude to continue to safeguard the …agreement,” Wang said.
Rouhani has said Iran will stay committed to the deal, which China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany also signed, provided those powers ensured Iran was protected from sanctions.
The three European states have recommitted to the agreement, but senior cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said on Friday that Europe was not to be trusted.
On Sunday, the head of the Assembly of Experts, a group of clerics responsible for choosing Iran’s supreme leader, said Rouhani should apologise for not having obtained guarantees from world powers for the agreement.
“It is necessary for the president to honestly and openly apologise to the people over the damages caused by the nuclear accord,” Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, a top conservative, said in a statement carried by state media.