Khamenei says Iran will 'shred' nuclear deal if United States quits it

Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from SC, told VOA the current Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is "a lousy deal" and explained President Donald Trump refused to re-certify it because "the benefits to Iran are [not] worth what we're getting". London last week hosted Ali Akbar Salehi, an Iranian vice-president and one of the leading architects of the accord; Paris let it be known that Emmanuel Macron was considering a trip to Iran next year, a first for a French president since the 1979 revolution.

"I don't want to waste time on answering the rants and whoppers of the brute USA president", Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said. The suspension was shortlived; it collapsed over Iran's determination to maintain a small uranium enrichment programme and America's insistence on a complete dismantling of nuclear activities.

"We fully stay committed to the complete implementation by all sides of the Iranian nuclear deal".

In spite of Europe's apparent leaning towards Tehran, President Trump has continued to put pressure on all parties. The fact that Tehran could not accept these terms and that the Trump administration is likely to enforce them increases the likelihood of the crisis escalating.

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"Or if they ask, 'Why does Iran have missiles?' then our response is, 'Why do they have missiles and nuclear weapons?'"

In early October, 180 congressional Democrats signed a letter to Trump, urging him to re-certify Iran's compliance. The reaction in Tehran too has been measured, so far.

"The worldwide community, and the European Union with it, has clearly indicated that the deal is, and will, continue to be in place".

Navigating the politics of the United States and Iran, however, will become much harder in the coming weeks and months.

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President Trump's announcement also outlined a new strategy for. If investment in Iran dries up, Hassan Rouhani, the recently re-elected moderate president, will lose his chief argument for curbing Iran's programme, and the main objective of his government.

In an interview with VOA contributor Greta Van Susteren, Graham said he will work with Armed Services Committee member Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, both fellow Republicans, to craft legislation regarding Iran. For its part, Tehran will try to embarrass Washington in front of the global community by rejecting the harsh conditions that undermine its national pride at a time when the regime is itself struggling to control the country internally and is going through its worst existential crisis since 1979. Whether they can resist American pressure, or avoid splitting over support for the U.S., is hard to predict.

But the bloc, reluctant to isolate itself completely from Washington, is also stepping up criticism of Iran's ballistic missile program and its role in what the West sees as fomenting instability in the Middle East.

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