Iran has threatened to resume its nuclear programme unless European Union backers of the 2015 nuclear deal keep it alive following Donald Trump’s decision to pull out and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.
The head of the country’s Atomic Energy Organisation, Ali Akbar Salehi, said Tehran would remain committed to its promises if the EU managed to salvage the accord.
But he warned there were a number of options under consideration including the resumption of its 20 per cent uranium enrichment process.
Mr Salehi was speaking after EU officials flew into Iran to offer reassurances that its member states would fulfil its commitments.
He said: “We hope their efforts materialise. America’s actions show that it is not a trustworthy country in international dealings.
“If the other side keeps itself committed to its promises we also will be keeping ourselves to our promises.
“Our policy is wait and see now for just a few weeks time.
“But there are all kind of possibilities. We can start the 20 uranium enrichment.”
Under the 2015 deal with major powers including Britain, Germany and France, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of most Western sanctions on the country. The sanctions were lifted in 2016.
European Commissioner for Energy and Climate, Miguel Arias Canete, has flown to Tehran to reassure officials that the EU wants to keep trade open despite the US withdrawal from the pact.
He said: “We have sent a message to our Iranian friends that as long as they are sticking to the agreement the Europeans will fulfil their commitment.
“And they said the same thing on the other side.
“We will try to intensify our flows of trade that have been very positive for the Iranian economy.”
Mr Trump withdrew from the deal on May 8 despite efforts by European countries including the UK and France to stick with it.
He justified his decision by claiming that Iran was secretly conducting a nuclear programme but offered no evidence.
He said: “The Iran deal is defective at its core. If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen.
“In just a short period of time, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons.
“The fact is this was a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made. It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.
“At the heart of the Iran deal was a giant fiction that a murderous regime desired only a peaceful nuclear energy program.”
Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani accused Mr Trump of waging “a psychological war” and said he believed the agreement could survive if other negotiating partners defied the White House.
Britain, Germany and France voiced “regret and concern” at the decision and planned to continue abiding by the agreement.