Iran could restart its nuclear programme within hours should the US impose further sanctions on the country, President Hassan Rowhani said Tuesday.
“The new government in the US should know that we could not only do it within weeks and months but days or even hours,” Rowhani said.
Two weeks after Donald Trump’s inauguration as president in January, the White House said it was putting Iran “on notice” for its ballistic missile tests.
The Trump administration slapped fresh sanctions against Iranian entities and officials in July in response to the missile programme.
Rowhani accused Trump of attempting to sabotage a 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and six world powers. It permits Iran to use nuclear power for civil purposes, but not to build nuclear weapons.
The deal lifted nuclear-related sanctions against Iran in exchange for the country allowing inspections of its nuclear sites and reductions in its stocks of low-enriched uranium.
Iran has respected its side of the deal, Rowhani said. “We prefer to continue to do so, but that does not mean we have no other options,” he warned.
Nothing in the nuclear agreement covers the country’s missile programme, Tehran has noted, claiming that the missile programme is solely for defence.
The US State Department recently certified that Tehran had met the terms of the nuclear deal.