In a speech before Iran’s parliament on Tuesday, newly reelected President Hassan Rouhani threatened that if the United States continued to impose new non-nuclear sanctions on Iran, Iran could resume its nuclear program at a more advanced level than before the negotiations began.
“The new US administration officials should know that the failed experience of threats and sanctions forced their predecessors to come to the negotiating table,” Iran’s semi-official PressTV news reported Rouhani as saying. “If they prefer to return to those times, Iran will definitely return to a situation much more advanced than the start of the [nuclear] negotiations, not within months and weeks, but in a matter of hours and days.”
The 2015 deal which allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium, also lifted nuclear sanctions on Iran. Then Secretary of State John Kerry told a Senate hearing at the time, “They are clear and we are clear that we have all other kinds of authorities, and let me be specific on that because it’s important for this whole debate to be clear. Even with the lifting of sanctions after eight years on missiles or five year on arms are the UN sanctions. It’s only the UN sanctions. We still have sanctions. Our primary embargo is still in place. We are still sanctioning them.”
Late last month, the U.S. imposed sanctions on Iran for its illicit ballistic missile program. Meanwhile, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom have agreed with the U.S. that Iran’s missile program, and specifically its recent launch of a Simorgh missile, violated Security Council resolution 2231, which formalized the 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran has claimed that the non-nuclear sanctions violate the nuclear deal.
In 2006, The Telegraph reported that Rouhani, referring to a 2004 nuclear deal Iran made with the UK, France, and Germany, and which Iran withdrew from nearly a year later, said that the earlier deal allowed Iran to complete critical advances of its nuclear program.
“When we were negotiating with the Europeans in Teheran we were still installing some of the equipment at the Isfahan site. There was plenty of work to be done to complete the site and finish the work there,” Rouhani recounted. “In reality, by creating a tame situation, we could finish Isfahan.”