image Photo: Reuters

Iran threatens withdrawal from NPT

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has threatened that the Islamic Republic will withdraw from Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) unless European powers “send Iran’s (nuclear) file to the (UN) Security Council” or alter what he termed “their improper behavior.”

The challenged issued by Tehran’s top diplomat coincided with another from Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi, who insisted that Iran remains open to negotiations with the international community – with the notable exception of the United States.

The latest rhetoric follows earlier praise from Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for his regime’s harsh response against last week’s E3 decision to trigger a dispute mechanism over Iranian breaches of its nuclear related commitments. “The evil government of the UK, the government of France and that of Germany – they threatened Iran and said they would once again take up the nuclear case with the (United Nations) Security Council – to which of course thankfully, our officials gave a deserved response,” which Khamenei emphasized was “A strong response.” He then accused the E3 of being “the same three” who “helped (former Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein as much as they could,” during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War Khamenei claimed had been “imposed” against the Islamic Republic.

In what was his first sermon of Islamic Friday prayers in eight years, the Ayatollah Khamenei also ridiculed Washington’s self-proclaimed support for Iranian protesters against his regime. “The spokespeople of the treacherous U.S. government keep repeating that ‘we are behind the people of Iran.’ You are lying. Even if you are standing by them, it is to stab your poisoned dagger into the hearts of the Iranian people.”

In related developments, the U.S. State Department’s Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said Washington is “pleased to see the United Kingdom, France, and Germany initiate the Iran nuclear deal dispute resolution mechanism.” He added that the Trump Administration supports the call from the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson “to replace the Iran nuclear deal with a new deal.”

“Veiled threats against European troops” made by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, said Hook, have now been reinforced by Khamenei, who he said “lashed out against Europe for standing up against Iran’s nuclear blackmail.”

“As long as the regime threatens the world, it will become further isolated,” underscored the U.S. Special Envoy, adding “Until Iran behaves like a normal nation, its isolation will only deepen.” He concluded his remarks, given at a press briefing in the American capital, by announcing the additional imposition of economic sanctions against aberrant Iranian individuals. This time the punitive measures were slapped against Iranian Revolutionary Guards Brig. Gen. Hassan Shavapour, who commands units that killed at least 148 Iranian demonstrators to date.