Iran’s Khamenei slams ‘cowardly’ European governments

TEHRAN: Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday (Jan 17) accused the governments of Britain, France and Germany of being "American lackeys" in the face of US pressure over the nuclear accord.

The United States has threatened to impose a 25 per cent tariff on imports of European cars if European Union governments continue to back the nuclear deal, according to German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

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The 2015 agreement was struck in Vienna between Iran and France, Britain, Germany, the United States, China and Russia.

But it has threatened to collapse since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States in 2018, before reimposing a series of intensifying economic sanctions on Iran.

In response, Tehran has progressively reduced a number of its key commitments to an agreement that drastically limited its nuclear activities.

Britain, France and Germany on Tuesday announced they were starting the so-called dispute mechanism to try to bring Iran back into full compliance with its commitments under the accord.

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During a sermon at Friday prayers in Tehran, Khamenei accused the "wicked" governments of Britain, France and Germany of "threatening Iran to take the nuclear issue to the (UN) Security Council."

Iran's top leader said the launch of the dispute mechanism was "done to overshadow" the killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike in Baghdad, and Iran's subsequent retaliation.

Last week, Iran fired a volley of missiles at US troops stationed in Iraqi military bases, wounding 11 American soldiers.

Khamenei accused the European governments of historic animosity towards Iran.

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