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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Iran's Khamenei warns US against 'wrong move' on nuclear deal

It comes after US president Donald Trump said on Thursday that Iran was violating 'the spirit' of the 2015 deal under which it gained sanctions relief in return for curbing its nuclear programme

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, pictured here on September 12, 2017, says Tehran will not be bullied by the United States over the nuclear deal. Leader Official Website Handout / EPA
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, pictured here on September 12, 2017, says Tehran will not be bullied by the United States over the nuclear deal. Leader Official Website Handout / EPA

Iran's supreme leader has said his country will not be bullied by the United States and will react strongly to any "wrong move" by Washington on Tehran's nuclear deal.

It comes after US president Donald Trump said on Thursday that Iran was violating "the spirit" of the 2015 deal under which it gained sanctions relief in return for curbing its nuclear programme.

Iranian state television quoted Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying on Sunday that Tehran was standing firm "and any wrong move by the domineering regime regarding the [nuclear accord] will face the reaction of the Islamic Republic".

Washington extended some sanctions relief for Iran on Thursday under the nuclear deal with world powers, but said it had yet to decide whether to maintain the agreement.

Mr Trump must make a decision by mid-October on whether to certify that Iran is complying with the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). If he does not, Congress has 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions.

Before then, however, US secretary of state Rex Tillerson will sit down at the same table as his Iranian counterpart, Mohammed Javad Zarif, on Wednesday in New York to review implementation of the nuclear deal.

The meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations general assembly will be closely watched for any signs that Mr Tillerson remains committed to the deal. Chaired by Federica Mogherini, the European Union's foreign policy chief, it will also include officials from the other signatories of the nuclear deal - Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany.

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"Today, despite all the commitments and discussions in the negotiations, America's attitude towards these negotiations and their outcome is completely unjust and amounts to bullying," Ayatollah Khamenei said in a speech to Iranian police academy graduates on Sunday.

"The Americans should know … there will be no retreat by the Islamic Republic."

The foreign ministry in Tehran condemned as "continued Iranophobia" Washington's move on Thursday to impose sanctions on 11 individuals and firms, including two based in Ukraine, state news agency Irna reported.

The US treasury accused the 11 of supporting Iran's ballistic missile programme or its Revolutionary Guards, or engaging in cyber attacks against the US financial system.

US secretary of state Rex Tillerson said on Sunday he believed Iran was in technical compliance with the nuclear deal but had stepped up destabilising activities in Yemen and Syria and continued to have an active ballistic missile programme.

"None of that, I believe, is consistent with that preamble commitment that was made by everyone" in the nuclear deal, he said.

Iran said last month it could abandon the nuclear agreement "within hours" if the US imposed any new penalties, after Washington ordered unilateral sanctions over Tehran's ballistic missile tests.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, speaking on Sunday before leaving to attend a UN General Assembly meeting in New York, said Washington should join the countries that continued to support the nuclear deal, which he compared to a dinner party.

"They can choose the right path and also enter the room where the food is served. We would not have a problem with that," Irna quoted Mr Rouhani as saying.