Iran will resume nuclear enrichment if United States leaves deal

Smoke billows from the southern Syrian village of Hadar

Iran warned on Saturday it is ready to "vigorously" resume nuclear enrichment if the United States ditches the 2015 nuclear deal, and said further "drastic measures" are being considered in response to a U.S. exit.

If the United States buries the deal, Iran is unlikely to stick to the agreement alongside the other signatories - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russian Federation, said the foreign minister.

"Iran has a wide range of options both inside and outside of the JCPOA and surely, the reaction from Iran and the worldwide community will be "unpleasant" for the Americans", Zarif said, according to Iran's propaganda channel, Press TV. The diplomat told CBS News' Face the Nation that "We have put a number of options for ourselves, and those options are ready, including options that would involve resuming at a much greater speed our nuclear activities".

"The United States has not only failed to implement its side [of the deal with Tehran], but is even asking for more", Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters in NY, where he is attending a UN General Assembly meeting.

Mohammed Javad Zarif has said Iran is not seeking to acquire a nuclear bomb, but that Tehran's "probable" response to a USA withdrawal would be to restart production of enriched uranium - a key bomb-making ingredient.

Iran has said its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes and its ballistic missiles exclusively for defense.

Iran has always claimed that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. Then presidential candidate Donald Trump called the gesture a "disgrace" and said the money was paid as ransom.

Syria missile strikes did not cross 'red lines' set by Russian Federation
The recent USA -led strikes were launched in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of people in Douma earlier this month.

European leaders are hoping to persuade Trump to save the deal if they, in turn, agree to press Iran to enter into agreement on missile tests and moderating its regional influence in Yemen, Syria and Lebanon.

Trump has set a May 12 deadline to either improve or scrap the accord, which was negotiated under his predecessor, Barack Obama.

At least five Americans are held being in Tehran and have been sentenced to prison in Iran on espionage-related charges.

Speaking to reporters in NY on Saturday, Mohammad Javad Zarif also said that for French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel "to try to appease the president (Donald Trump) would be an exercise in futility".

According to Zarif, there are "many" Iranian prisoners being held in the United States or elsewhere at America's request, "including a lady who had to give birth in an Australian prison because of a U.S. extradition request".

Negotiations are a "possibility, certainly from a humanitarian perspective, but it requires a change of attitude", Zarif said.

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