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Monday, August 05, 2019, 18:24
Iran's Zarif says Tehran will leave nuclear deal if necessary
By Reuters
Monday, August 05, 2019, 18:24 By Reuters

In this June 10, 2019 photo, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a press conference with his German counterpart Heiko Maas (not in frame) after their talks in Tehran, Iran. (EBRAHIM NOROOZI / AP)

DUBAI Iran will leave its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday, if Tehran’s interests were not protected by other parties to the pact.

“Iran will leave its 2015 nuclear deal with powers if necessary,” Zarif told a news conference broadcast live on state TV, “calling on Europeans to accelerate their efforts to shield Iran’s economy from US sanctions.”

Sanctioning a foreign minister means failure in talks

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister, Iran

ALSO READ: World powers meet Iran in Vienna to salvage nuclear deal

He criticized US sanctions imposed on him on Wednesday, saying Washington had closed the door to diplomacy over Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, which US President Donald Trump exited last year.

“Sanctioning a foreign minister means failure in talks,” Zarif said.

If other countries heed US calls to stop buying Iranian oil, Tehran has threatened to block all exports via the Strait, though which a fifth of global oil traffic passes.

Iran will no longer turn a blind eye to “maritime offenses” in the Gulf, its foreign minister said, a day after it seized an Iraqi oil tanker there that it accused of smuggling fuel.

Revolutionary Guards seized the tanker and its seven crew near Iran’s Farsi Island north of the Strait of Hormuz, state media reported, in show of power amid heightened tension with the West that minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blamed US authorities for fomenting.

“Iran used to forgo some maritime offenses in ... (the) Gulf but will never close (its) eyes anymore,” Zarif told a news conference.

Oil tanker traffic through Hormuz and other strategic waterways has become a focus for the standoff between Washington and Tehran, into which Britain has also been dragged.

READ MORE: Report: Iran seizes tanker carrying 'smuggled fuel'

Fueling fears of a Middle East war with global repercussions, the Guards seized British tanker Stena Impero near the Strait of Hormuz in July for alleged marine violations, two weeks after British forces captured an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar accused of violating sanctions on Syria.

Zarif called the UK seizure “piracy” and said the Gulf’s security was Iran’s responsibility.

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