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Iran will fully restore nuclear program if JCPOA scrapped: Larijani

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani says the Islamic Republic will restore its nuclear program to where it was prior to the signing of the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries if the US scraps the agreement.

In case of the revocation of the nuclear deal - known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - by the US, everything will go back to square one, Larijani was quoted by IRNA as saying in an interview with the Lebanon-based al-Mayadeen TV channel.

The top Iranian parliamentarian made the comments amid a number of indications that the administration of US President Donald Trump may want to stop implementing its commitments under the JCPOA. Trump had previously threatened to rip up the deal and called it “the worst accord ever” and “one of the dumbest” ones he had come across.

Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China - plus Germany signed the JCPOA on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.

Under the nuclear agreement, Iran undertook to put limitations on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.

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Iran, Russia on course for strategic alliance

Elsewhere in his interview, Larijani touched on the relations between Iran and Russia and said the two countries are moving toward forming a strategic alliance in the region.

Iran has been providing military advisory support to both Iraq and Syria in their campaign against terrorism at the requests of the two countries’ governments.

The Islamic Republic was among the first countries to help Iraq when the Daesh terrorist group unleashed a campaign of death and destruction in the northern and western parts of the Arab country in 2014.

Russia has also been carrying out an aerial campaign against the militants in Syria on a request from the Damascus government.

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Larijani further said Iran welcomes negotiations with Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, emphasizing that the Islamic Republic sets and accepts no preconditions in this regard.

His remarks came after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani paid a day-long visit to Oman and Kuwait on Wednesday to boost cordial relations.

Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said (R) and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani meet following the latter's arrival in Muscat on February 15, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

“The visits, which took place at a time when the region is in special and sensitive circumstances, indicate the countries’ common will to expand friendly ties across the strategic waters of the Persian Gulf,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Thursday.

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The visits came after Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah traveled to Tehran on January 25, bearing a letter from the Kuwaiti emir on behalf of the Persian Gulf littoral states seeking to fix ties with Tehran, which began to deteriorate last year amid the confrontational approach taken by the new Saudi rulers to Tehran.

Saudi Arabia unilaterally severed its diplomatic ties with Iran last January. It made the move after protests in front of its diplomatic premises in the Islamic Republic against its earlier execution of top Saudi Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Subsequently, many of the kingdom’s allies either downgraded or cut their Iran ties.

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