Iran says US breaching nuclear deal as Rouhani starts new term

Iran says US breaching nuclear deal as Rouhani starts new term

TEHRAN – Agence France-Presse
Iran says US breaching nuclear deal as Rouhani starts new term Iran said on Aug. 3 that new U.S. sanctions were a violation of its nuclear deal with world powers, piling pressure on President Hassan Rouhani as he started his second term.

Rouhani was sworn in by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Aug. 3 following his re-election in May.

It came less than 24 hours after U.S. President Donald Trump confirmed fresh sanctions against Iran.

Tehran says the new measures violate its 2015 deal with world powers that eased sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program, an agreement which Trump has repeatedly threatened to tear up.

“We believe that the nuclear deal has been violated and we will react appropriately,” deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi said on state television.

“We will certainly not fall into the trap of U.S. policy and Trump, and our reaction will be very carefully considered.”

The mounting crisis creates a difficult position for Rouhani, a 68-year-old moderate who won re-election largely thanks to his efforts at repairing relations with the West.

“It’s unfortunate timing,” said Ellie Geranmayeh, an Iran analyst with the European Council on Foreign Relations.

“What will be absolutely critical is how the Europeans position themselves,” she said, pointing to the burgeoning trade ties with Europe and their continued backing of the nuclear deal.

Britain, France and Germany -- who signed the deal along with Russia, China and the United States -- remain firm backers of the agreement and have criticized the Trump administration for threatening to scrap it.

French energy giant Total defied U.S. pressure in July by signing a multi-billion-dollar gas deal with Iran.

“What Iranians are banking on at the moment, maybe overestimating, is that Europe will safeguard and build on the deal, and make it too politically costly for Trump to tear it up, or at least show Washington that if it walks away, it will be doing so alone,” said Geranmayeh.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly certified that Iran is sticking by its commitments under the agreement -- a position that has been reluctantly accepted by the Trump White House.

Meanwhile, Rouhani also faces challenges closer to home, with hardline opponents arguing that Washington’s aggressive moves prove that he should never have trusted the United States.