The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (A.E.O.I.) has warned that Tehran will keep all options on the table if Washington walks away from the nuclear agreement the Islamic Republic signed with the United States and five other world powers in July 2015. In an interview with Lebanon’s Arabic-language Al-Mayadeen TV, Ali Akbar Salehi said the nuclear accord is an international document and it will be difficult for the Trump administration to cancel the deal. But he emphasized that Iran will respond proportionately to U.S. actions and will consider all options if Washington abandons it. Salehi claimed that the West recognized Iran’s enrichment rights in the nuclear accord, and added that Iran’s nuclear activities are advancing better than any time in the past, including enriching uranium, producing heavy water, designing a new reactor with China’s help, and extracting uranium mines. He said the Trump administration will be isolated internationally if it walks away from the agreement.
Comment: The rising tension between Washington and Tehran over the latter’s ballistic missile activity and support for terrorism has put the future of the Iran nuclear deal in serious jeopardy. While the Trump administration last month certified that Tehran was in compliance with the terms of the nuclear deal, it announced new sanctions against the Islamic Republic and emphasized that the administration was “deeply concerned about Iran's malign activities across the Middle East which undermine regional stability, security and prosperity." The media also reported that Trump only reluctantly agreed with the certification and is considering abandoning the accord. The Trump administration is also currently reassessing U.S. overall policy toward Iran.