Iran will counter a possible U.S. move to scrap the 2015 nuclear deal with rapid response that could surprise the Americans, a senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official warned Wednesday.
“Iran is prepared for the worst-case scenario concerning the nuclear deal, internationally known as JCPOA,” Majid Takht Ravanchi, Iranian deputy foreign minister for European and American affairs, was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.
Signed in 2015 by Iran and six major world powers including Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany, the Iranian nuclear deal is formally called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Under the deal, Iran agreed to halt its nuclear weapons development program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions on the Islamic republic.
One cannot predict U.S. President Donald Trump’s imminent decision on the deal, Ravanchi said, adding that Tehran’s rapid reaction to any breach of the deal would “surprise” Washington.
“Should the United States withdraw from the JCPOA, Iran will carry out its response plan so rapidly that would surprise the Americans,” he said.
On Oct. 13, Trump announced that he decided to decertify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal, in a move that did not pull the U.S. out of the deal but triggered a 60-day window for U.S. Congress to decide whether to reimpose the nuclear-related sanctions on Iran.
With no action from U.S. Congress during the past months, the ball was kicked back to Trump, who should decide in mid-January if he would like to waive energy sanctions on Iran.
So far, the deal has helped defuse the Iranian nuclear crisis and bolstered the international non-proliferation regime. Iran has repeatedly warned the U.S. against scrapping the deal, while other parties involved in the deal are also largely opposed to such move.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), tasked with monitoring Iran’s nuclear activities, has so far certified for eight times Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal.