Saudi Arabia reiterates vow to pursue nuclear weapons if Iran does

Casey Dawson
May 10, 2018

The United States plans to impose new unilateral sanctions after abandoning an agreement reached in late 2015 which limited Iran's nuclear ambitions in exchange for removing joint U.S. -Europe sanctions, which included strict curbs on crude oil exports.

In response to Trump's move, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suggested Iran could ramp up its nuclear program.

"This was a disgusting, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made", Trump said.

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies basked on Wednesday in what they saw as a political victory over Iran, after Washington withdrew from the global nuclear accord with Tehran. Some lawmakers said Iran no longer is obligated to honor the deal.

Trump said on Tuesday that the 2015 nuclear deal, which lifted sanctions on Iran in return for measures restricting its nuclear programme, did not go far enough in removing the threat posed by Tehran to the USA and its allies in the Middle East.

The renewed sanctions, aimed at the heart of the Iranian economy, will impact the country's energy, financial, and petrochemical sector. The International Atomic Energy Agency has so far verified Iran's adherence to the deal. The JCPOA is working - that is a view shared by our European allies, independent experts, and the current U.S. Secretary of Defense. Under such a situation, Iran may decide that its main reason for joining the deal, namely economic recovery through foreign investments, can not be achieved, and withdraw from the deal.

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin downplayed the prospect of higher oil prices because of the sanctions, telling reporters that the United States has "had various conversations with various parties about different parties that would be willing to increase oil supply to offset this".

"We have repeatedly said that Iran needs to seriously reconsider its approach if it truly wanted to establish good neighborly ties with Arab countries", he stated.

Saudi Arabia, which is pumping just under 10 million barrels a day, has the capacity to produce 12.5 million over time.

The agreement is due to expire at the end of 2018.Saudi Arabia, the world´s largest oil exporter and top OPEC producer, is concerned about any negative impact from the possible supply shortage on oil-consuming countries, the OPEC source said.

Members of Iranian parliament struck a similar tone, burning a US flag and chanting "death to America".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and French President Emmanuel Macron condemned Donald Trump's decision.

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