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US decries Iran threat to withdraw from global nuclear treaty

The groundbreaking ceremony of Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, held in Bushehr, Iran on 10 November, 2019 [Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency]
The groundbreaking ceremony of Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, held in Bushehr, Iran on 10 November, 2019 [Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency]

A US envoy said on Tuesday that Iran would be sending a "very, very negative message" if it quits the 1970 global nuclear non-proliferation treaty after European countries accused it of violating a separate 2015 deal with world powers.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Monday that Tehran would withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if Europeans continued with what he called "their improper behaviour" or referred Iran to the UN Security Council over its alleged violations of the 2015 deal.

Robert Wood, US disarmament ambassador, noting talks set for April in New York on the NPT, told reporters in Geneva: "Here we are on the eve of a review conference that Iran is threatening to walk away from."

READ: Europeans trigger dispute mechanism in Iran nuclear deal

"We think that Iran needs to end its malign behaviour and sit down with the United States and negotiate an agreement that deals not only with the nuclear issue but also with the other issues that concern us like the ballistic missile proliferation and development and the malign activities around the world," he said.

US has been seeking a war with Iran for decades [Cartoon by Carlos Latuff/Instagram]

The US has been seeking a war with Iran for decades [Cartoon by Carlos Latuff/Instagram]

Tensions have steadily escalated since US President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of Tehran's nuclear agreement with world powers in 2018 and reimposed US sanctions. The standoff erupted into an exchange of military strikes in the past month. s month.

Esmaeil Baghaei Hamaneh, Iran's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, later took the floor and said Iran's nuclear programme had always been peaceful.

"It continues to be under unprecedented scrutiny of the IAEA for the past year," he said, referring to the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency which deploys inspectors at Iran's nuclear facilities.

READ: US House votes to rein in Trump's war powers as US-Iran tensions stay high

The 2015 nuclear agreement, known as the JCPOA, had been "crafted as a confidence-building measure to alleviate any concerns, real or concocted, over the nature of our programme", he said.

The United States and its Western allies have long accused Iran of seeking nuclear weapons. Tehran insists it has never sought nuclear arms and never will, saying its nuclear work is for research and to master the process to generate electricity.

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