‘Seriously?’ Iran responds to Trump nuclear ‘playing with fire’ jibe

Sky News – July 2, 2019

Iran’s foreign minister has hit back at a US claim that his country has been breaching the 2015 nuclear deal for a long time by asking “seriously?”

Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote the one word response on Twitter on Tuesday in response to a White House statement late on Monday.

In the statement, the US government claimed: “There is little doubt that even before the deal’s existence, Iran was violating its terms.”

And Donald Trump, at a White House event, accused Iran of “playing with fire” after stockpiling more enriched uranium than is allowed under an international agreement.

He said: “They know what they’re doing. They know what they’re playing with, and I think they’re playing with fire. So, no message to Iran whatsoever.”

The White House, while saying it would continue its maximum pressure campaign until Iran’s leaders change course, did not explain how Iran could have been breaking the terms of an agreement before it was created.

Iran announced on Monday it had amassed more low-enriched uranium than permitted under its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), more commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, was reached between Iran and the United States, the UK, Russia, France, China, Germany and the EU in July 2015 – and the US then agreed to lift nuclear-related sanctions on Iran.

The deal meant the country had to reduce its stockpile to a maximum of 300kg of uranium and limit the purity of its stockpile of that element to 3.67%.

However, Mr Trump abandoned the deal last year, calling it “disastrous” and “one-sided”.

The US president spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron by phone on Monday about Iran’s increased production of low-enriched uranium.

World leaders have voiced concerns over the JCPOA breach.

The UK said the situation is “extremely concerning“.

Theresa May’s spokesman said the UK was working with partners to decide what action should be taken.

“We have been consistently clear that our commitment to the deal depends on Iran complying in full with the terms of the deal and we urge them to reverse this step.”

But a senior Russian diplomat said on Monday that US sanctions had provoked Iran’s move to break the limit set on its uranium stockpiles.