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Iran Warns Europe That Time Is Running Out On Saving Nuclear Deal


Iranian President Hassan Rohani (left) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Qingdao, China, on June 9.
Iranian President Hassan Rohani (left) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Qingdao, China, on June 9.

Iran has warned Europe that time is running out on saving an international deal on its nuclear program and reiterated its criticism of the United States for “unilateralism” by withdrawing from the accord.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani told a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional security grouping led by China and Russia where Iran has observer status, on June 10 that U.S. efforts “to impose its policies on others are expanding as a threat to all.”

"The recent example of such unilateralism and the defiance of the decisions of the international community by the U.S. government is its withdrawal from the JCPOA," Rohani said, referring to the nuclear agreement by its official name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The comments at the summit, where the leaders of China and Russia were present, came on the same day that Iran’s parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani, said that it is time for Europe to show it can save the nuclear deal.

"This issue must be clear, that Iran's officials will not wait for Europe's endless promises," Larijani told parliament in a televised address.

"The time for negotiations is coming to an end and if Europe considers itself capable of maintaining the nuclear agreement, it must announce its decision explicitly and promptly, as otherwise Iran will take the next steps with regards to nuclear and other issues," he added.

President Donald Trump announced last month that the United States was leaving the agreement, calling it deeply flawed, and reimposing sanctions that would hit international businesses working in the Islamic republic. Since then, European states have been scrambling to persuade Iran to stay in the accord.

The nuclear deal was designed to set strict limits on Iran's uranium enrichment and other nuclear activities in return for the lifting of international sanctions.

The other signatories to the plan -- Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany -- have said they remain committed to the deal so long as Iran is honoring the agreement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also criticized the U.S. move during the summit in Qingdao, China, saying the decision could “destabilize” the Middle East.

"Russia calls for strict and consistent implementation of this plan," Putin said on June 10. "For our part, we will continue to implement our obligations."

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who was speaking at the summit after Rohani, expressed "regret" that the White House had decided to withdraw from the nuclear pact.

"China is willing to work with Russia and other countries to preserve the JCPOA," Xi said.

Tehran insists its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.

With reporting by Reuters, dpa, and AP
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