Iran has ‘expected and unexpected’ reactions if US leaves deal: Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech during a parade on the occasion of the country’s Army Day on April 18, 2018, in Tehran. (AFP)
Updated 21 April 2018

Iran has ‘expected and unexpected’ reactions if US leaves deal: Rouhani

DUBAI: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday Iran’s atomic agency was ready with “expected and unexpected” reactions if the United States pulls out of a multinational nuclear deal, as US President Donald Trump has threatened to do.
“Our Atomic Energy Organization is fully prepared ... for actions that they expect and actions they do not expect,” Rouhani said without elaborating in a speech carried by state television, referring to a possible decision by Trump to leave the accord next month.
The deal reached between Iran, the United States and five other world powers put curbs on Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.
Trump has called the agreement one of the worst deals ever negotiated. In January he sent an ultimatum to Britain, France and Germany, saying they must agree to fix what the United States sees as the deal’s flaws or he would refuse to extend the critical US sanctions relief that it entails.
US disarmament ambassador Robert Wood said on Thursday Washington had been having “intense” discussions with European allies ahead of the May 12 deadline, when US sanctions against Iran will resume unless Trump issues new waivers to suspend them.
Iran has said it will stick to the accord as long as the other parties respect it, but will “shred” the deal if Washington pulls out.
“Iran has several options if the United States leaves the nuclear deal. Tehran’s reaction to America’s withdrawal of the deal will be unpleasant,” Iranian state TV quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying in New York.
Foreign exchange controls “preventive” in case US exits
Rouhani said his government intended to prevent instability in the foreign exchange market after a possible Washington exit from the nuclear accord when the central bank this month slapped controls on markets in an attempt to unify the Iranian rial.
“This was a preventative blow against any American decision on May 12. They fully hoped to ... cause chaos in the (foreign exchange) market. I promise to the people that the plot of the enemy has been thwarted, and whether or not the nuclear deal remains in effect, we will have no problem,” Rouhani said.
On April 9, Iran moved to formally unify the country’s official and open market exchange rates and banned money changing outside of banks, after its currency, the rial, plunged to an all-time low on concerns over a return of crippling sanctions. 


Syria lifts overnight curfew, ban on movement between governorates

Updated 56 min 35 sec ago

Syria lifts overnight curfew, ban on movement between governorates

  • The government will suspend repatriation flights until further notice
  • Shops will be allowed to operate for longer hours

DUBAI: Syria’s Council of Ministers has agreed to lift the overnight curfew and ban on inter-governorate movement aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus, state news agency SANA reported.
The curfew will be lifted on Tuesay, May 26. Group transportation will also be allowed between governorates and shops can operate for longer hours, from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m.
The government will also suspend repatriation flights until further notice, the report said. The council will discuss renewing repatriation service for nationals stranded abroad after all previous arrivals finish their quarantine.
Syria recorded its highest daily increase in known coronavirus cases on Tuesday after confirming 20 new infections. There have been a total of 106 known cases of people infected and four fatalities due to the disease.
The health ministry attributed recent increase in new cases to the return of Syrians from abroad.