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Iran would ‘pay price’ if it restarts nuclear program and threatens US, Trump says

April 24, 2018

President Trump on Tuesday said Iran would pay a “price” if it threatens the U.S. “in any way” and restarts its nuclear program.

Iran’s foreign minister on Tuesday said the country would “most likely” abandon the nuclear deal if President Trump pulls out.

But Iran also threatened Trump and the U.S., as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called Trump to uphold the deal or “face severe consequences,” he said during a televised speech, additionally warning that the “Iranian government will react firmly” if the U.S. drops out.

Trump said Tuesday Iran would “pay a price like few countries have ever paid” if Iran threatens the U.S. “in any way.” He was speaking during a press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron.

“If they restart their nuclear program, they’re going to have bigger problems than ever before,” Trump said.

The U.S. is facing a May 12 deadline to decide whether or not to remain in the Iran nuclear deal.

President Trump has long been critical of the Obama-era agreement, calling it an “embarrassment” and “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.”

Macron and other European leaders have reportedly tried to convince Trump to remain in the deal, saying it is better to be in the deal than out of it.

Earlier this month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a live broadcast that if President Trump follows through with his promise to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, the United States “will surely regret it.”

“Iran will not violate the nuclear deal, but if the United States withdraws from the deal, they will surely regret it. Our response will be stronger than what they imagine and they would see that within a week,” he had said.

Iran has promised to ramp up its nuclear program if the deal collapses, though many feel as though the deal has done little to diminish Iran’s nuclear efforts anyway. Iran insists its efforts have been for research and technology, and that its missiles are purely defensive.

“We will produce any weapons necessary to defend our country in such a volatile region. But we will not use our weapons against our neighbors,” Rouhani has said.

It was not the first time Iran has suggested that pulling out of the deal would be a grave mistake for the U.S.

In early March, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif forewarned on state television: “If the United States makes the mistake of pulling out of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), it will definitely be a painful mistake for the Americans.”

Trump’s threats regarding the nuclear deal have influenced Iran to consider all possible outcomes, including a JCPOA without the U.S., but which might still include some European allies, China and Russia. However, some analysts have suggested that the nuclear agreement would likely collapse altogether if the U.S. decides to pull out.

More recently, the President has leaned on European partners to “fix the terrible flaws” in the deal as a last resort. France, Britain and Germany outlined possible new sanctions for Iran as a way to not only keep Trump committed to the deal, but also persuade their EU partners to save the accord.