Andrew Buncombe — The Independent June 4, 2018
In a televised speech, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged the nation’s youth to stand up to pressure from the US in the aftermath of Mr Trump’s decision last month to exit from the landmark seven-party accord. The decision resulted in the reimposition of sanctions that had been lifted as part of the deal.
“Tehran will attack 10 times more if attacked by enemies….The enemies don’t want an independent Iran in the region,” said Mr Khamenei, according to Reuters. “We will continue our support to oppressed nations…our enemies have staged economic and psychological warfare against us and new American sanctions are part of it.”
Since the US announced it was withdrawing from the 2015 agreement, the EU, along with Russia, China and Iran, have been discussing whether the deal is still workable without the involvement of the US, which has great leverage over global financial transactions.
One of the endeavours being pursued by the EU is the revival of legislation that would allow European companies to continue doing business with Iran, despite US sanctions. The so-called “blocking statute” was introduced in 1996 to circumvent US sanctions on Cuba but was never used.
Reports suggest an updated version of the measure should be in force before 6 August, when the first sanctions take effect.
“We have the duty, the Commission and the European Union, to do what we can to protect our European businesses, especially SMEs,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a statement, referring to small and medium-sized companies.
The comments from Mr Khamenei came as Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Europe for meetings in Germany, France and the UK. Mr Netanyahu, who was among the loudest voices calling on the US to pull out of the Iran deal and praising Mr Trump for doing so, met on Monday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Before he left for Europe, Mr Netanyahu met with his cabinet and tweeted about his determination to stop Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon. Iran has always insisted it has no nuclear ambitions, beyond developing the technology for providing energy.
“This week I will meet with three European leaders Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Theresa May,” Netanyahu said. “Israel will not let Iran obtain nuclear arms,”
After meeting the meeting between the German and Israeli leaders, Ms Merkel said she agreed with Mr Netanyahu that Iran’s activities in the Middle East were a concern, particularly for Israel.
While it has never admitted possessing them, Israel is the only country in the region that is armed with nuclear weapons.
“We agree that the question of Iran’s regional influence is worrying, especially for Israel’s security,” Mr Merkel told a joint news conference with Mr Netanyahu after their meeting in Berlin.