Iran’s chief negotiator says: ‘None of these measures which have been cited in our words are legitimate’

Echoing threats Iran and President Hassan Rouhani has been making in recent days, Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran’s chief negotiator, warned on Wednesday that all measures should be exhausted in negotiating a nuclear deal with the West.

In an interview with Reuters and EFE news agencies, Mr. Salehi said there were only two remaining chances for the nuclear deal to survive, first to extend it another 90 days, and a second if it fails.

Iran currently is already in the 40th month of a six-month extension of the deal with the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany. But Mr. Salehi said he was “optimistic” that European countries could make other arrangements for the provision of insurance for oil and gas sales with Iran, and could help arrange for Iran to sell its oil on the European exchange.

He said the West should not undercut Iran’s nuclear negotiating position to force the country to drop its ballistic missiles program.

“None of these measures which have been cited in our words are legitimate as they are already working against the interests of Iran,” Mr. Salehi said. “They can’t be used as the excuse for wrecking all our credibility.”

“If we proceed on this manner we are not going to be able to achieve our objective,” he added. “We are already in the 40th month of extension and the goal is to keep the nuclear program and the heavy water” reactor at Arak “under guarantees.”

The most important way to save the agreement was to end any talks on joint U.S.-Israeli military plans against Iran, he said.

“Of course we believe that making such plans is a mistake and illegal as it undermines the only legally available tool for protecting our security and that of our region.”

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