Iran: Preservation of Nuclear Deal Now No. 1 Foreign Policy Priority

Published August 20th, 2017 - 01:35 GMT
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (C) delivers a speach to the parliament in Tehran on August 20, 2017, as Iran's parliament prepares to vote on the president's cabinet.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (C) delivers a speach to the parliament in Tehran on August 20, 2017, as Iran's parliament prepares to vote on the president's cabinet.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that the top foreign policy priority for his new government is to protect the nuclear deal from being dismantled by the US.

The nuclear deal - signed in 2015 by Iran and six powers including the US - led to the lifting of most sanctions against Tehran in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.

Washington imposed new sanctions on Iran in July after Tehran carried out missile tests, with both countries accusing each other of violating the spirit of the agreement.

"The most important job of our foreign minister is first to stand behind the JCPOA, and not to allow the US and other enemies to succeed," Rouhani told parliament, using the technical name for the 2015 deal.

"Standing up for the JCPOA means standing up to Iran's enemies," he said on the last day of debates over his cabinet selections.

Last week, Rouhani had threatened to pull Iran out of the deal if the US continued to apply new sanctions.

Tensions have mounted between Washington and Tehran since US President Donald Trump took office seven months ago.

The Trump administration has twice certified Iran as being in compliance with the nuclear deal, even though Trump has called the agreement negotiated by his Democratic predecessor "the worst deal ever".

 

Rouhani  insisted on Sunday that the deal is the preferred way forward to help rebuild Iran's economy and create jobs.

"The second responsibility of the foreign ministry... is to get involved in economic activities. It should help attract foreign investment and technology," Rouhani said.

He was addressing lawmakers ahead of votes of confidence on his ministerial choices. 

Rouhani, a 68-year-old moderate cleric, won a resounding re-election victory in May in large part due to the backing of reformists who supported his message of greater civil liberties.


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