Iran Warns Trump: Remain in Nuclear Deal or ‘Face Severe Consequences’

LONDON (Reuters) -
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned President Donald Trump on Tuesday to remain in the nuclear deal that Tehran signed with world powers in 2015, or face “severe consequences.”

“I am telling those in the White House that if they do not live up to their commitments, the Iranian government will react firmly,” Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on state media.

“If anyone betrays the deal, they should know that they would face severe consequences,” he added.

Under Iran’s settlement with the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China, Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program to satisfy the powers that it could not be used to develop atomic bombs. In exchange, Iran received relief from sanctions, most of which were lifted in January 2016.

Trump has given the European signatories a May 12 deadline to “fix the terrible flaws” of the 2015 nuclear deal, or he will refuse to extend U.S. sanctions relief on Iran.

Rouhani said his government intended to prevent instability in the foreign exchange market after a possible Washington exit from the nuclear accord when the central bank this month slapped controls on markets.

“This was a preventative blow against any American decision on May 12. They fully hoped to … cause chaos in the [foreign exchange] market. I promise to the people that the plot of the enemy has been thwarted, and whether or not the nuclear deal remains in effect, we will have no problem,” Rouhani said.

Iran has said it will stick to the accord as long as the other parties respect it, but will “shred” the deal if Washington pulls out.