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Iran's Rohani: No One Will Benefit From U.S. Nuclear-Deal Withdrawal


Iranian President Hassan Rohani poses for a picture at the beginning of a meeting during his official visit to Bern on July 2.

During a visit to Vienna, Iranian President Hassan Rohani has reiterated that Tehran will remain in the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers as long as its interests are guaranteed by other signatories.

Speaking to reporters after meeting with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, Rohani said on July 4 that the United States' withdrawal from the agreement two months ago was "illegal."

"Not the United States, not any other country would benefit from this decision to withdraw from the accord," he also said.

Rohani hinted that Iran will retaliate against any threats to its oil industry.

"The Americans say they want to reduce Iranian oil exports to zero.... It shows they have not thought about its consequences," Rohani was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

The Iranian president's comments echoed his remarks on July 3, when he hinted at a threat to disrupt oil shipments from neighboring countries if Washington presses ahead with its goal of forcing all countries to stop buying Iranian oil.

He did not elaborate, but Tehran has in the past threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route, in retaliation for any hostile U.S. action against Iran.

Rohani, accompanied by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, is holding talks with Austrian leaders in Vienna after a stop in Switzerland.

On July 6, the foreign ministers of Iran and the five world powers still party to the nuclear deal -- Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany -- will meet in the Austrian capital to discuss ways to preserve it in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal.

"The meeting has been called with the intention of agreeing the way forward to ensure the continued implementation" of the accord, said the office of EU foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini, who will chair the gathering.

Before leaving Tehran for his European tour, Rohani said on July 2 that he expected European states to unveil "in coming days" a package of measures aimed at preserving the accord, according to the state-run Mehr news agency.

President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the accord in May and moved to reinstate economic sanctions against Tehran. U.S. officials also warned that other countries would face sanctions unless they stopped doing business with Iran.

The other parties to the agreement say they remain committed to the deal so long as Iran is honoring it.

With reporting by Reuters and dpa
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