Iran not seeking trouble, but won't give up right to export oil
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal was "illegal" and it was up to Europe to preserve the landmark accord with Tehran.
"After the US illegal withdrawal from the nuclear deal, the ball is in Europe's court now in the limited time remaining," Rouhani said in a meeting with British Ambassador to Tehran Rob Macaire, who submitted his credentials to the Iranian president.
"Today we are at a very critical point in history regarding the nuclear deal, and Europe's transparent measures to compensate for the United States' illegal withdrawal from it are very important for the Iranian nation," Rouhani said.
In May, US President Donald Trump dropped out of the landmark deal between world powers and Tehran under which international sanctions were lifted in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
Iran and other signatories, especially European powers, have been working to find a way to salvage the nuclear agreement despite the US withdrawal.
The withdrawal entails the reimposition of not only sanctions on Iran but also the so-called secondary sanctions on third countries.
The US has also announced that it seeks to bring Iran’s oil sales down to “zero.”
In response, Iran said that if it is rendered incapable of selling its oil, other countries in the region will face the same — a relatively implicit statement that was taken to mean that Iran may block the Strait of Hormuz, through which international oil cargoes pass.
Rouhani on Tuesday again suggested Iran could cause major disruptions in the Persian Gulf region by attempting to block key shipping lanes.
"The Islamic Republic has never sought tension in the region and does not want any trouble in global waterways, but it will not easily give up on its rights to export oil,” Rouhani said at the meeting.
He also complained that some of the parties to the nuclear deal are not fully implementing the terms of the deal in business and banking sectors.
In turn, the British ambassador, whose country – along with France and Germany – is a party to the Iran deal, expressed London’s support for the nuclear agreement, saying the European states are making efforts to preserve the accord.
He also said the UK attaches great importance to Iran’s policy of reducing tensions in the region, and wants to develop its ties with the Islamic Republic.
He further noted that problems could be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy.
Reuters, AP and Press TV contributed to this story.