Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif: Donald Trump Must Remain Committed to Nuclear Deal

Iran’s foreign minister called on Wednesday for U.S. president-elect Donald Trump to remain committed to the international nuclear deal agreed with Tehran in 2015.

“Every U.S. president has to understand the realities of today’s world. The most important thing is that the future U.S. president sticks to agreements, to engagements undertaken,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said in Romania.

On the presidential campaign trail, Trump had condemned the deal and threatened to rip up the agreement if he came to power. After Trump’s victory in Tuesday’s vote, Zarif sought to immediately outline Tehran’s stance because of concerns that the president-elect will act upon his policy pledge.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addresses the media after a meeting with his Romanian counterpart at the Romanian Foreign Ministry, Bucharest, November 9. He said that Donald Trump must uphold Washington's commitment to the nuclear agreement signed by Tehran and world powers in July 2015. Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty

In June, Zarif had already said that Tehran would reject any attempt from Washington to renegotiate the deal that sought to rein in the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program in return for the lifting of crippling international sanctions.

Speaking in Stockholm, Iran’s top diplomat warned that the agreement “is not an Iran-U.S. agreement for the Republican front-runner or anybody else to renegotiate. It’s an international understanding annexed to a Security Council resolution.”

Iran’s conservative religious elite had also railed against Trump’s comments about the agreement. The country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran would itself dismantle the deal if the threats from Trump became a reality.

“The Islamic Republic won’t be the first to violate the nuclear deal. Staying faithful to a promise is a Koranic order,” Khamenei said in June, according to state media. “But if the threat from the American presidential candidates to tear up the deal becomes operational then the Islamic Republic will set fire to the deal.”

Trump had called the agreement one of “the worst deals ever made by any country in history” because it was giving back billions in frozen assets to the Iranian government. The president-elect warned in September that the deal is “going to destroy Israel—unless I get elected. Then Israel will be just fine.”

Iran has maintained that its nuclear program was entirely peaceful but hardline leadership figures in Iran, such as Khamenei, regularly threaten Israel with military action, saying that it would cease to exist. It also backs proxy groups financially across the Middle East, some that threaten Israel’s security, such as Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah and Palestinian Sunni militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

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