Iran says it has plans to respond to any move by Donald Trump to scrap the 2015 nuclear agreement, warning the US would face “historic regret” if it abandons the deal.
Under the 2015 deal struck between Iran, the US, China, Russia, Germany, France and the UK, sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
Mr Trump says that unless European allies rectify “flaws” in Tehran’s deal with world powers by May 12, he will refuse to extend US sanctions relief for Iran.
“We have plans to resist any decision by Trump on the nuclear accord,” Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said in a speech carried live by state television.
“Orders have been issued to our atomic energy organisation … and to the economic sector to confront America’s plots against our country,” Mr Rouhani told a rally in northeast Iran on Sunday.
“America is making a mistake if it leaves the nuclear accord.”
In a magazine interview, French President Emmanuel Macron warned a decision by Mr Trump to withdraw could lead to war.
“We would open the Pandora’s box. There could be war,” Mr Macron told German weekly magazine Der Spiegel.
“I don’t think that Donald Trump wants war,” he added, saying he urged the US President not to withdraw from the deal when they met in Washington late last month.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, meanwhile, is travelling to Washington to discuss the future of the deal with White House officials.
Britain, France and Germany remain committed to the nuclear accord but are prepared to open talks on Iran’s ballistic missile program, its nuclear activities beyond 2025 and its wars in Syria and Yemen in a bid to keep the US involved.
“We will not negotiate with anyone about our weapons and defences, and we will make and store as many weapons, facilities and missiles as we need,” Mr Rouhani said, reiterating a rejection by Iranian leaders of talks on Iran’s missile program which Tehran says is defensive.
“You (the US) should know that you cannot threaten this great nation because our people withstood eight years of … defence (in the war with Iraq),” Mr Rouhani said in another speech during his visit to Razavi Khorasan province.
“We want to preserve our peaceful nuclear technology for electricity, medicine, agriculture and health… and we do not seek to threaten the world or the region.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, stepped up his calls to end the Iranian nuclear deal.
In a briefing to foreign reporters on Sunday local time, the Accoxiated Press quoted Mr Netanyahu as saying “a deal that enables Iran to keep and hide all its nuclear weapons know-how, is a horrible deal”.