Iran’s supreme leader warns US against making ‘wrong move’ on nuclear deal

By Shashank Bengali and Ramin Mostaghim | Los Angeles Times (TNS)

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Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned Sunday that Iran would respond strongly to “any wrong move” by the United States on the multilateral nuclear deal struck in 2015.

President Donald Trump has threatened to declare Iran in violation of the landmark agreement next month, which could pave the way for additional U.S. economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Iranian leaders have accused Trump of trying to sabotage the deal in which Iran agreed to shelve its nuclear program in exchange for relief from international sanctions.

“Every day [American officials] play a new trick or expose a new side of their viciousness,” Khamenei said at a graduation ceremony at a police academy, Mehr News reported.

The ongoing war of words comes as world leaders prepare to gather at the United Nations this week. The U.N. nuclear watchdog has said Iran has met its obligations under the nuclear agreement and is cooperating with international inspectors.

The Trump administration has sent mixed signals on the nuclear agreement, which Trump once called “the worst deal ever.”

Last week, Trump effectively endorsed the deal by extending one of its terms, a waiver on certain U.S. sanctions against Iran. But he also accused Iran of violating “the spirit of the deal” and renewed a threat to declare that Iran was not complying with its terms, a move that would give Congress 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions.

“They have violated so many different elements, but they’ve also violated the spirit of that deal,” Trump said last week. “And you will see what we’ll be doing in October. It will be very evident.”

Trump administration officials have argued that Iran must allow U.N. inspectors access to military sites, but Iranian leaders have rejected the idea, saying it would violate their country’s sovereignty.

On Friday, firebrand cleric Ahmad Khatami said in the closely watched weekly sermon at Tehran University that “nowhere in the text … of the [nuclear deal] is it mentioned that military sites can be inspected.”

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