Iran on Tuesday again threatened to walk away from the nuclear agreement reached last year with global powers, hours after the country breached international agreements by test-firing ballistic missiles.
Iran’s most recent ballistic missile test, which violates current U.N. Security Council resolutions, comes a day after the international community’s nuclear watchdog organization disclosed that it is prohibited by the nuclear agreement from publicly reporting on potential violations by Iran.
Iranian leaders now say that they are poised to walk away from the deal if the United States and other global powers fail to advance the Islamic Republic’s “national interests.”
“If our interests are not met under the nuclear deal, there will be no reason for us to continue,” Abbas Araqchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister, warned during remarks delivered to a group of Iranian officials in Tehran.
“If other parties decide, they could easily violate the deal,” Araqchi was quoted as saying by Iran’s state-controlled media. “However, they know this will come with costs.”
Araqchi appeared to allude to the United States possibly leveling new economic sanctions as a result of the missile test. The Obama administration moved forward with new sanctions earlier this year as a result of the country’s previous missile tests.
Iran’s latest missile test drew outrage from longtime regime critics on Capitol Hill.
“The administration’s response to Iran’s new salvo of threatening missile tests in violation of international law cannot once again be, it’s ‘not supposed to be doing that,’” Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) said in a statement. “Now is the time for new crippling sanctions against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Ministry of Defense, Aerospace Industries Organization, and other related entities driving the Iranian ballistic missile program.”
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) warned that the nuclear agreement has done little to moderate Iran’s rogue behavior.
“Far from pushing Iran to a more moderate engagement with its neighbors, this nuclear deal is enabling Iran’s aggression and terrorist activities,” McCarthy said in a statement. “Sanctions relief is fueling Iran’s proxies from Yemen to Iraq to Syria to Lebanon. Meanwhile, Khamenei and the Iranian regime are acting with impunity because they know President Obama will not hold them accountable and risk the public destruction of his nuclear deal, the cornerstone of the president’s foreign policy legacy.”
McCarthy went on to demand that the Obama administration step forward with new sanctions as punishment for the missile test.
Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department had difficulty Monday explaining why the nuclear agreement limits public reporting by the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, on potential deal violations by Iran.
Yukiya Amano, the IAEA’s chief, disclosed on Monday that his agency is no longer permitted to release details about Iran’s nuclear program and compliance with the deal. The limited public reporting is a byproduct of the nuclear agreement, according to Amano.
When asked about these comments again Tuesday, a State Department official told the Free Beacon that the IAEA’s reports would continue to provide a complete picture of Iran’s nuclear program, though it remains unclear if this information will be made publicly available.
“There isn’t less stringent monitoring or reporting on Iran’s nuclear program,” the official said. “The IAEA’s access to Iran’s nuclear program and its authorization to report on it has actually expanded. It’s a distortion to say that if there is less detail in the first and only post-Implementation Day IAEA report then that somehow implies less stringent monitoring or less insight into Iran’s nuclear program.”
While the IAEA “needs to report on different issues” under the final version of the nuclear agreement, the agency continues to provide “a tremendous amount of information about Iran’s current, much smaller nuclear program,” the source maintained.
The IAEA’s most recent February report—which was viewed by nuclear experts as incomplete and short on detail—“accurately portrays the status of Iran’s nuclear program,” including its efforts to uphold the nuclear deal, the official added.