Khamenei: Tehran shouldn’t count on Europe to save nuclear deal

Source: Khamenei: Tehran shouldn’t count on Europe to save nuclear deal | The Times of Israel

Iranian leader says talks with EU should continue but is not optimistic about their success, claims negotiations with US shown to be ‘useless’ and ‘a blatant mistake’

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attends a meeting with lawmakers in Tehran, Iran, on June 20, 2018 (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attends a meeting with lawmakers in Tehran, Iran, on June 20, 2018 (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Iran should not count on Europe’s proposals package to fix the nuclear deal following Washington’s exit, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Saturday.

Having withdrawn from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, Washington is determined to isolate Iran and pile on economic pressure with a full reimposition of sanctions, starting in August.

Europe is opposed to the move and has vowed to find ways of maintaining its trade ties with Iran, which under the deal curbed its nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of sanctions. Proposals by EU nations for economic “guarantees” to Iran have so far been judged “insufficient” by Tehran.

Khamenei, in a meeting with Iranian diplomats in Tehran, said, “Negotiations with the Europeans should not be cut off, but we should not wait too long for a European package and instead, we should do a lot of work inside the country,” according to Iran’s Press TV.

US President Donald Trump has said he is open to a new deal that would cover not only Iran’s nuclear facilities, but also its missile program and regional interventions.

European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini (L); Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif (C) and political deputy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran Abbas Araghchi take part in a Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) ministerial meeting on the Iran nuclear deal on July 6, 2018 in Vienna, Austria. (AFP/APA/Hans Punz)

But Khamenei said talks with the US had been proven to be “a blatant mistake” and “useless,” claiming Washington would not be satisfied until the current regime was gone.

“I have long pointed out that it is not possible to count on the words and even the signatures of the Americans, so negotiations with the United States are of no avail,” he said.

Washington has “a fundamental problem with the nature of Iran’s Islamic establishment,” Khamenei asserted.

Iran has warned it is ready to boost its uranium enrichment to higher levels if talks with Europe on salvaging the nuclear deal fail.

On Tuesday, Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman and vice president of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said Tehran is “continuing to carry out and implement our obligations based on the JCPOA,” he said, referring to the 2015 nuclear deal

But, he added, “we have of course adopted some measures in order to prepare the ground for eventually increasing the level of enrichment if it is needed and if the negotiations with the Europeans fail.”

On Wednesday, the chief of Iran’s nuclear agency Ali Akbar Salehi said that his country’s effort to acquire uranium has resulted in a stockpile of as much as 950 tons.

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