In comments likely to frustrate the White House, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany and China will stand by the existing nuclear accord with Iran, even as the US has withdrawn and expects its European allies to follow suit.
Merkel made the statement during a joint news conference with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing, Reuters has reported.
Her remarks come hours after Iran’s leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, issued a set of demands to European powers in which he voiced skepticism that they would remain committed to the 2015 deal. He also warned that Iran would restart its nuclear activities if they failed to act swiftly.
“The heads of European countries say different things. For our economy, we cannot rely on JCPOA and the Europeans,” Khamenei said in statements that were published on his official website. He was referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, otherwise known as the Iran nuclear accord.
Khamenei said the JCPOA could only continue if the Europeans fulfill six conditions including: Promising not to ask Iran about its ballistic missile program or its regional activities; guaranteeing that Iran’s oil will continue to be sold and compensating for any losses and buying any remainining stock; and having European banks guarantee financial transactions with Iran.
“If the Europeans linger over our demands, Iran has the right to resume its nuclear activities,” Khamenei continued. “When we see that the JCPOA is useless, one way forward is to restart those halted activities.”
Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, told reporters in Tehran on Wednesday that Iranian support in Middle Eastern countries was only there because those countries had requested it.
“As long as these governments want us to maintain our presence we will help, and the aids we provide is to the benefit of the entire world,” Zarif said.
Iran has funded and equipped proxy forces in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, as well as Houthi rebels in Yemen who are fighting pro-government forces. It has also provided for Shia militias and their commanders and politicians in neighboring Iraq. Rockets fired into Saudi Arabia from Yemen are reported to have been supplied to the rebels by Iran. And Israel has sustained attacks along its borders with Lebanon and Syria from Iranian-supported forces.
Source » cnn