Published On: Tue, Aug 20th, 2019

Iran latest: Tehran official claims they never should have signed 2015 nuclear pact | World | News

The Iranian official, Ali Shamkhani, also condemned the US’s decision to up naval presence in the Strait of Hormuz. In an NBC interview he said there were people in Iran who felt signing the pact was a mistake. He said: “I’m just following the viewpoints of my nation, the people of Iran.”

Mr Shamkhani, who rarely speaks to the western press, is Iran’s top national security officer.

He is the military adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and in 2013 became the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council.

In his interview from Tehran, Mr Shamkhani branded the US as the aggressive and prime source of tension in the region.

He went on to warn the US to “act with wisdom”.

Mr Shamkhani went on to claim Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran would not bring Iran to heel or being it back to the table to discuss nuclear negotiations.

He said: “The sanctions campaign is not for negotiation, it’s for making us surrender.

“As long as this approach is taken by the United States, Iran will never ever seek negotiations.”

After two years of talks, the Obama administration joined other powers in signing the nuclear pact with Iran in 2015.

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He said: “Just walk the streets of Tehran and see how energetic our people are and you will realise what the US has been trying to achieve has not materialised.”

Mr Shamkhani claimed Iran was not a source of terror in the region but a stabilising force, whose “martyrs” sacrificed their lives and defeated terrorist groups like al Qaeda and ISIS.

He did not explicitly deny Iran played a role in sabotaging oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz in recent months, but he did emphasise Iran’s role as a guarantor of security in the region.

Mr Shamkhani claimed the US and its regional allies would be in “a terrible situation” in the event of war.

He said: “There is no doubt that the already tarnished image of the United States will be even further destroyed in the region and the whole world.

“Why do they basically threaten to launch a war against us?”

Mr Shamkhani claimed Iranians feel Trump wants the same things as his predecessors which is to diminish Iran’s influence.

Mr Shamkhani was a former anti-Shah militant and revolutionary guard who commanded Iran’s naval forces.

He also served as a minister of defence and mounted an unsuccessful campaign for Iran’s president in 2001.

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