Iran appears to have lost hope on Europe to save the international nuclear deal after U.S. withdrawal earlier this year.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader who expressed regret over the development on Wednesday urged government to stop pinning its hopes on Europe to keep the accord alive.
Reuters quoted Khamenei as saying that Iran could abandon the nuclear agreement if it does not serve the “national interests” of the country.
“The nuclear deal is a means, not the goal, and if we come to this conclusion that it does not serve our national interests, we can abandon it,” Khamenei was quoted as saying by his official website.
Khamenei added that even as officials from European countries work to salvage the deal after the exit by the U.S., Tehran should “give up hope” for the deal to be saved.
“There is no problem with negotiations and keeping contact with the Europeans, but you should give up hope on them over economic issues or the nuclear deal,” he was quoted as saying.
The comments came a day after Iranian lawmakers ordered President Hassan Rouhani to answer for his role in the faltering economy amid growing political divisions in the country.
Rouhani claimed that newly re-imposed U.S. sanctions after Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal would only serve to unify the country.
“I want to assure the Iranian nation that we will not allow the U.S. plot against the Islamic Republic to succeed.
“We will not let this bunch of anti-Iranians in the White House be able to plot against us,” he told parliament.