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Iran threatens: If we leave Nuke Deal, our atomic program will be stronger

Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi
An Iranian official threatened the world leaders on Tuesday of increasing their nuclear activity, if the world powers have decided to withdraw from 2015 deal.

In his latest interview with the Associated Press, Iran’s nuclear chief said that he hopes the atomic deal between Tehran and world powers survives but warns the program will be in a stronger position than ever if not.

Ali Akbar Salehi’s comments, who also serves as a vice president to Iran’s elected leader Hassan Rouhani, come as Iran tries to salvage an accord now challenged by President Donald Trump, after he decided to withdraw from the deal in last May.

The American withdrawal from the deal and the return of U.S. sanctions already has badly shaken Iran’s anemic economy, crashing its currency. Further sanctions coming in November threaten Iran’s oil industry, a major source of government funding, and will further pressure the relatively moderate Rouhani.

For his part, Salehi sought to contrast Iran’s behavior, which includes abiding by the atomic accord, against “emotional moves and sensational moves.”

“I think [Trump] is on the loser’s side because he is pursuing the logic of power,” Salehi told the AP in an exclusive interview in Tehran. “He thinks that he can, you know, continue for some time, but certainly I do not think he will benefit from this withdrawal, certainly not.”

Salehi heads the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, whose Tehran campus encompasses a nuclear research reactor donated to the country by the U.S. in 1967 under the rule of the shah. But in the time since, Iran was convulsed by its 1979 Islamic Revolution and the subsequent takeover and hostage crisis at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
For decades since, Western nations have been concerned about Iran’s nuclear program, accusing Tehran of seeking atomic weapons. Iran long has said its program is for peaceful purposes, but it faced years of crippling sanctions.

Tensions between the two countries have been on the rise since May, while the Trump administration re-imposed some sanctions that were halted as part of that agreement, which was crafted by the Obama administration, along with France, Germany, the European Union, the United Kingdom, China and Russia. Another round of U.S. sanctions is scheduled to hit Iran in November.