Iranian official: Trump’s withdrawal from nuclear deal puts him on ‘loser’s side’

Iranian official: Trump’s withdrawal from nuclear deal puts him on ‘loser’s side’

When President Trump withdrew the United States from a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in May, critics warned that the move would reset relations with Tehran to the pre-2015 pattern of mutual recriminations and entanglements by proxy - all the while leaving Iran poised to swiftly scale its program back to pre-agreement levels.

After four months, that is exactly what's happening.

Salehi's warnings came days after he announced to Iran's state media that the Islamic Republic had completed construction of a facility capable of producing advanced centrifuges at its nuclear plant Natanz, fulfilling threats that it would continue nuclear production in the event that the USA withdraw from the 2014 nuclear deal and slap heavy sanctions on the country. The 2015 accord, struck under president Barack Obama's administration, saw Iran agree to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.

Salehi discussed building a new uranium enrichment facility at Natanz, which would utilize more advanced centrifuges than its program had utilized in the past. (In addition, the accord allows Iran to keep no more than 1,044 centrifuges for conversion to the production of stable isotopes.).

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Iran had 20,000 centrifuges installed before the deal, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. "On the contrary, what we are seeing is that while Iran is sending terrorist cells to Europe, European leaders are appeasing - and reconciling with - Iran, in the same week that the terrorist cells were due to carry out their operations, which we helped thwart". After Trump called the agreement "deeply flawed" in May and pulled out, the United States re-triggered sanctions.

Iran is now under US sanctions, which were reimposed by President Trump last month.

Netanyahu again noted the irony that on the same week in June that an Iranian terror cell tried to carry out an attack against an Iranian opposition group in Paris - an attack that Israeli intelligence helped to thwart - European leaders were trying to "appease" Iran and looking for ways to soften the fallout from the U.S. withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal. Bitter foes Iran and the United States are Iraq's principal allies and have long vied for political influence.

In January 2010, Massoud Ali Mohammadi, a particle physics professor at Tehran University, was killed when a booby-trapped motorcycle exploded outside his home in the capital, causing Iran to quickly blame the attack on Israeli and U.S. intelligence services. Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi blamed the unrest on USA support for "groups which have spread and promoted violence and extremism".

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