"We told the Europeans that if they did not convince the U.S.to save the agreement, Iran will also leave the deal".
The 2015 deal - signed by Iran with the United States, Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russian Federation - put limits on Iran's nuclear program in return for the easing of economic sanctions against the country.
Iran, which according to the United Nations atomic watchdog has been abiding by the deal since it came into force in January 2016, has ruled out any changes to the agreement.
In exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear program, worldwide nuclear-related sanctions that had been slapped on Iran had been lifted, starting in 2016 under the terms of the JCPOA, as well as granting Iran access to frozen capital. "He also pledged that if we were unable to secure an agreement with our allies, then he would not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal", the official said. "And it doesn't feel to me that they are", he said, cautioning that the situation could change as the deadline itself - May 12 - nears. He added that he didn't believe pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal would have a "detrimental effect" on those talks.
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While Iran has reaped massive economic benefits from the accord, notably by being able to resume oil exports, it is still constrained by USA sanctions in other areas. This week's firing of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the choice of Iran hard-liner Mike Pompeo to replace him have fueled speculation Washington will pull out. One senior negotiator involved in the talks said last week that Europe is prepared to be "creative" in addressing the provisions but would not budge from opposing any measure that would punish Iran for activity that is otherwise permitted under the 2015 agreement.
However, he declined to indicate what would happen if and when such an agreement is reached, saying: "We are not under instructions from the president to go beyond seeking an agreement with our European allies".
In their White House meeting earlier in March, Netanyahu said he told the president that "the nuclear agreement with Iran must be either totally fixed or totally canceled" and that the two discussed the matter at length. "We're taking the real-world actions that we think will make (it) unmistakable to Kim Jong Un that we are intent on denuclearization", Pompeo said.
The Islamic Republic will respond in due time to the United States violations of the agreement sealed in July 2015 and put into operation in January 2016 and known as the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA) or nuclear agreement. Trump does not like the deal's limited duration, among other things. The move is seen as an attempt to keep Trump satisfied.
Accusing Iran of bad behavior that includes funding groups labeled by the U.S.as terrorist organizations, Trump announced last October that he would decertify Iran's compliance with the deal, asking Congress to pass legislation that could trigger penalties for the Islamic republic.