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  • Iranians protest against President Donald Trump and in support of their government in Tehran, Iran, May 10, 2019.

    Iranians protest against President Donald Trump and in support of their government in Tehran, Iran, May 10, 2019. | Photo: EFE

Published 10 May 2019

Iranian demonstrators are backing the government decision to move away from nuclear deal in response to U.S. sanctions on its metal and mineral exports.

Thousands of Iranians gathered Friday in the country's main cities to express their support for the government's decision to suspend some of their nuclear deal commitments as United States President Donald Trump was urging Iranian authorities to abandon the 2015 nuclear deal that both countries signed.

The U.S. leader as well as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo both went so far as to say the nation could not rule out a military confrontation with Iran because of growing tensions between the two nations just as Trump's cabinet announced it would slap further sanctions on Iran, this time on its iron, steel, aluminum and copper exports.

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"If Trump breaks the agreement, we will burn the agreement," was a motto heard during a massive march which began at the Tehran University and ended in the Enghelab Square in the capital city.

The head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Yadolah Yavani, said Washington thought the new round of punishment on "Iran would create internal disorder and eventually (make us) negotiate. But in practice this did not happen," said the military authority.

During the parade, the demonstrators carried pictures of Ali Khamenei, the Iran's supreme leader, and praised their government's decision related to backing away from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was signed off by Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States in 2015.

Under this United Nations-endorsed nuclear deal, Iran agreed to limit its uranium-enrichment activities for 10 years and to let the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) access to all its nuclear facilities. In return, the JCPOA stated that Iran will receive relief from U.S. and European sanctions.

The Persian country has been complying with the agreement, according to the IAEA. On May 8, 2018, however, Trump announced that the U.S.'s withdraw from the JCPOA and reinstated its sanctions against Iran.

Responding to Wednesday's newest trade sanctions, Iran's President Hasan Rohani said his country would increase its reserves of enriched uranium and heavy water, two materials needed in the manufacture of nuclear weapons. During a speech addressed mainly to the European JCPOA signatories, he also set a 60-day term to guarantee its country's banking transactions and oil exports.

On Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Yavad Zarif also urged European countries to normalize economic ties with Iran, save the 2015 nuclear agreement and not be intimidated by the U.S.

So far, the European Union has adopted a series of measures to counter U.S. sanctions, one of them is a special payment channel which has not been very effective in practice.

Trump said this week that "fundamental" changes in Iran's behavior are expected.

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