Iran has again tried to separate Europe from the US over the July 2015 nuclear deal, calling on European countries to adhere to the agreement even if Washington leaves.

Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization and the technical negotiator on the agreement,” target=”_blank”>said in an interview with the German newspaper Der Spiegel, published on Friday:

We are continuously assessing if this agreement benefits us, or if the price is too high to stay in the deal. If the United States pulls out of the agreement, but the rest of the countries stay committed — namely Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia — then Iran would most probably stick with the commitments to the agreement without the US.

But if the US leaves the treaty and Europe follows, then this deal will certainly collapse and Iran will go back to what it was before, and, technically speaking, to a much higher level. As a person who has taken part in these negotiations, I wouldn’t like to see that happen.

“I think our partners in this treaty have more to lose than we do.

Iran has refined its line as the US has adopted new sanctions on Tehran despite the deal, and as the Trump Administration has threatened withdrawal, including a speech earlier this week by its UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.

See Iran Daily, Sept 7 Rouhani Repeats — “Proper Response” to US Moves Over Nuclear Deal
Iran Daily, Sept 6: US Talks of Withdrawal from Nuclear Deal

Iran initially said that it would never withdraw from the agreement from the 5+1 Powers, as it adopted a “proportionate response” to US measures. However, last measure President Hassan Rouhani said for the first time that withdrawal might have to be envisaged.

Salehi referred to the new US sanctions, adopted by Congress in late July:

The US is trying to poison the business environment. It discourages big banks and companies from working with Iran. It is fearmongering. But in reality they cannot accomplish much. There is a lot of rhetoric.

He maintained that Iran should be able to continue testing of ballistic missiles, cited as a reason by the Americans for the additional restrictions on Tehran:

If the US considers this an issue, then it is their problem. Nowhere in the nuclear agreement does it say that Iran does not have the right to develop its missile capacity. We are exercising our rights and it is the other side that is trying to interpret this as a provocative act.