MANAMA, Bahrain — Iran’s top diplomat said Sunday that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani won’t implement a landmark nuclear agreement unless he receives more sanctions relief.
The United States and other world powers reached a deal with Iran this year to constrain its nuclear program in exchange for eased economic sanctions. The agreement requires Iran to continue removing enriched uranium from power plants and to ship out all the low-enriched uranium it still has.
But Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran’s relief from sanctions for its nuclear activity remains “too small.”
“We would like it to be much bigger,” Zarif said in a question-and-answer session with The Associated Press on the sidelines of the World Energy Congress being held in Bahrain.
Zarif added that Rouhani is well aware of “who is financing terrorism against Iran and against its people.”
“It is a separate issue and Mr. Rouhani was elected because of his good reputation in this regard,” Zarif said.
“Iran will remain an important player in the region for many, many years to come and so I don’t expect the so-called sanctions relief would take away our capacity to play our regional role,” he said.
“I am very clear on this subject and the President of Iran is too.”
After the nuclear agreement, Iran agreed to a deal with world powers to remove 4,000 tons of low-enriched uranium from Tehran’s nuclear facilities within three years and reduce its stockpile of highly enriched uranium by 98 percent.
“Almost all of it has already been shipped out … or is being shipped out right now or there is still quite a bit more to do,” Zarif said.
In return, the West lifted economic sanctions, including a suspension of banking restrictions, oil export bans and other trading penalties. In all, the sanctions have cost Iran billions of dollars a year.