Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (centre) and his cabinet meet the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran, on August 29, 2018.
London: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday cast doubt on the ability of European countries to save Iran’s 2015 nuclear accord with world powers, now under threat following a US withdrawal, and said Tehran might abandon the agreement.
Khamenei cautioned President Hassan Rouhani not to rely too much on European support as he came under increased pressure at home over his handling of the economy in the face of US sanctions, with key ministers under attack by parliament.
But in his comments published on his official website Khamenei told Rouhani and his cabinet on Wednesday: “There is no problem with negotiations and keeping contact with the Europeans, but you should give up hope on them over economic issues or the nuclear deal.”
“The nuclear deal is a means, not the goal, and if we come to this conclusion that it does not serve our national interests, we can abandon it,” Khamenei was quoted as saying.
Khamenei set out a series of conditions in May for European powers if they wanted to keep Tehran in the deal. They included steps by European banks to safeguard trade with Tehran and guarantee Iranian oil sales.
Speaking at the same meeting on Wednesday, Khamenei said Tehran would not negotiate with “indecent and confrontational” US officials to reach a new agreement on its nuclear programme because Washington “wants to boast they managed to bring Iran to the negotiation table”.
Khamenei told Rouhani and his cabinet to work “day and night” to solve the mounting economic problems which include the collapse of the rial currency and surging unemployment.