U.S. has broken n-deal promises, says Khamenei

Iran’s top leader distanced himself on Monday from the nuclear agreement reached with major powers a year ago, accusing the United States of failing to honour pledges in the accord and citing “the futility of negotiations with the Americans”.

In blunt remarks prominently featured in Iran’s state news media, the senior leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the talks that led to the nuclear agreement in July 2015 should be regarded as an instructive lesson on the dangers posed by interactions with governments he regards as enemies.

He, however, did not suggest that he wanted to abandon the agreement, which took effect in January and sharply limited Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of many Western economic sanctions. But his remarks indicated that he was hedging against any unravelling of the agreement.

“Today, even the diplomatic officials and those who were present in the negotiations reiterate the fact that the U.S. is breaching its promises, and while speaking softly and sweetly, is busy obstructing and damaging Iran’s economic relations with other countries,” Mr. Khamenei said in a translation reported by Press TV, an official Iranian English-language news site.

He cautioned against talks with the U.S. on other regional crises, presumably including the wars in Syria and Yemen and the Islamic State extremist group. The experience of the nuclear deal, he said, “tells us that taking this step would be a deadly poison and that the Americans’ remarks cannot be trusted on any issue.” The remarks may strengthen the hard-line conservative factions in the Iranian hierarchy and their hostility toward President Hassan Rouhani.

Iran still isolated

While oil sales have increased, Mr. Rouhani’s optimism about other expected dividends of the agreement — an end to Iran’s isolation and a rush of foreign investment and economic growth — have yet to occur, imperilling his prospects for re-election next year.

Despite the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions, Iran is still barred from using the United States’ financial system because of many other prohibitions.

The banking problems have played a significant role in delaying Iran’s purchases of new jetliners from Boeing and Airbus, which the nuclear agreement specifically permitted. Congress has further angered Iranian officials by threatening new sanctions that could scuttle those purchases.

Worries about the durability of the agreement have increased because of two other developments: Britain’s vote in June to leave the European Union, and the possibility that Donald Trump could win the November election. The British vote has sent economic chills through the EU, which may divert or delay European business ambitions in Iran. Mr. Trump has called the nuclear agreement a disaster, suggesting that he would seek to renegotiate it. — New York Times News Service

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