Iran ‘to resume’ nuclear activities if deal fails

Foreign minister says the framework nuclear deal was not binding until a final agreement is worked out

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Iran’s foreign minister said Saturday that Tehran would be able to return to its nuclear activities if the West withdraws from a pact that is to be finalized in June, according to the Associated Press.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister and chief nuclear negotiator, said on a talk show on state-run TV that Iran has the power to take “corresponding action” and “will be able to return” its nuclear program to the same level if the other side fails to honor the agreement.

“All parties to the agreement can stop their actions (fulfillment of their commitments) in case of violation of the agreement by the other party,” Zarif said.

Zarif said the framework nuclear deal announced by Iran and six world powers Thursday in Switzerland was not binding until a final agreement is worked out by a June 30 deadline.

He also said that, if finalized, the deal would nullify all U.N. Security Council resolutions against Iran’s nuclear program and lead to the lifting of U.S. and European Union sanctions.

The framework agreement, if finalized, would cut significantly into Iran’s bomb-capable nuclear technology while giving Tehran quick access to bank accounts, oil markets and other financial assets blocked by international sanctions.

Zarif’s remarks appear aimed at reassuring hardliners in Iran who strongly oppose the framework agreement as a good deal for the West and disaster for Iran.

During the interview, Zarif said that Iran is “committed” to implementing its part of any final agreement providing Western countries fulfill their promises.

He said Iran wants to have a “moderate, constructive and proud presence” in the world.

In the TV interview, Zarif said he “objected” to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry using the word “suspension” rather than “termination” regarding sanctions against Iran in the statement on the framework deal announced Thursday in Lausanne, Switzerland.

He also said that the agreement showed that the West cannot halt Iran’s nuclear program, which Tehran insists is for peaceful purposes such as power generation and cancer treatment.

Western countries suspect that Iran’s nuclear program has a military dimension.

[With AP]