Russia: Iran ‘won’t be alone’ if US attacks
AEOI: Iran to speed up enriching of uranium
America is pursuing an incorrect path, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday.
“Today I tell the Americans that the path you have chosen is an incorrect path,” Rouhani said.
Rouhani, who was speaking at a cabinet meeting in Tehran, pointed to the US betrayal of its commitments to the Islamic Republic under a multilateral nuclear deal, which Washington quit in May 2018 as well as the deal's European partners’ failure to honor Iran’s interests under the agreement.
European signatories have not done enough to preserve the landmark 2015 nuclear deal and it would be in the benefit of European countries and the US to stick to their promises under the deal, Rouhani said.
“The path that you (Europeans) chose was wrong,” he said, adding, “We tell them both to return to their commitments.”
Rouhani also told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on the phone on Tuesday that Iran "never seeks war" with the United States.
"Iran has no interest to increase tension in the region and it never seeks war with any country, including (the) US," the president said, as Tehran and Washington engaged in an escalating war of words following Iran's shooting down of a US drone intruding into its airspace last week.
"We have always been committed to regional peace and stability and will make efforts in this respect," the Iranian president told Macron.
Rouhani blamed the US for regional tensions and said if Washington had stuck to the deal "we would have witnessed positive developments in the region."
US President Donald Trump said he pulled back from retaliatory strikes on Iran at the last minute.
But tensions roared this week with Trump announcing sanctions on Iran's Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and top officials.
The new measures are the latest against Tehran since Trump pulled out of the nuclear accord between Iran and world powers.
Trump said on Wednesday he was “not talking boots on the ground” should military action be necessary against Iran, and said any conflict would not last long.
Asked if a war was brewing, Trump told Fox Business Network: “I hope we don’t but we’re in a very strong position if something should happen.
“I’m not talking boots on the ground,” Trump said. “I’m just saying if something would happen, it wouldn’t last very long.”
On Tuesday Trump threatened the “obliteration” of parts of Iran if it struck US interests.
A senior Russian diplomat said on Wednesday that Iran “won’t be alone” if the United States decides to launch a military strike on the Islamic Republic.
“Iran will withstand this type of fight and Iran is not alone,” Zamir Kabulov, the Foreign Ministry’s special envoy for Asian countries including Iran, said at a Russian-Iranian policy forum in Moscow.
“Iran will never be alone if, God forbid, the US ever takes absolutely crazy and irresponsible actions against it,” he said. “Not only Russia, but many countries sympathize with Iran.”
When asked if Russia was ready to provide material support to Iran if the US attacks it, Kabulov said that “specific actions are a question for the Russian president.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said separately that Moscow will try to persuade the US and Iran to start "civilized" dialogue.
"This, of course, assumes the end to the [American] policy of ultimatums, sanctions and blackmail," Lavrov told another briefing later on Wednesday.
Iran announced in May it would suspend two of its pledges under the 2015 deal, giving the agreement's remaining supporters two months to help it circumvent US sanctions.
On Tuesday, Tehran's top security official, Ali Shamkhani, said Iran would "forcefully" reduce further commitments from July 7.
Tehran's compliance had been based on European promises to support Iran's economy – which have failed to bear fruit – Rouhani told Macron.
Iran previously announced it would stop observing restrictions on its stocks of enriched uranium and heavy water agreed under the deal.
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said Wednesday it will speed up its enrichment and stockpile of low-grade.
Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for the organization, said Iran will exceed the uranium production limit of 300 kilograms, as well as accelerate uranium enrichment as of Thursday.
"The deadline of the Atomic Energy Organization for passing the production of enriched uranium from the 300 kilogram border will end tomorrow," Kamalvandi said Wednesday. "With the end of this deadline, the speed of enrichment will speed up."
Reuters, AFP, Bloomberg and Press TV contributed this story.