UN chief hopes Iran nuclear deal can be saved

By Umar Farooq</p> <p>WASHINGTON (AA) – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hopes the Iran nuclear deal could be saved, his spokesman said Wednesday after Tehran threatened to leave the 2015 agreement. </p> <p>&quot;The Secretary General has consistently reiterated that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action represents a major achievement in nuclear nonproliferation and diplomacy and has contributed to regional and international peace and security,&quot; Farhan Haq said in a news conference.</p> <p>The landmark agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of nations — the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany — imposed strict curbs on Tehran’s nuclear program in return for the lifting of longstanding U.S. sanctions.</p> <p>Iran's President Hassan Rouhani threatened Wednesday to depart from the deal within 60 days if Tehran's interests were not protected.</p> <p>Iran is also prepared to resume its uranium-enrichment activities whenever necessary, according to the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency Ali Akbar Salehi.</p> <p>&quot;[Guterres] strongly hopes that Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action can be preserved,&quot; Haq said.</p> <p>Last year, U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the nuclear deal, and what followed was a &quot;maximum pressure&quot; campaign, with the Trump administration re-imposing economic sanctions on Iran’s energy and banking sectors. Washington also ended sanctions waivers for countries buying Iranian oil.