Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded to President Donald Trump on Tuesday immediately following his national address announcing the U.S. would withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal, accusing Washington of “never” keeping promises or respecting international law.
In a brief address from the White House, President Trump announced that, largely due to Iran’s continued support for and funding of terrorist organizations, the United States would exit the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal. He added that the United States would restore the highest level possible of sanctions against Iran and that he would always be open to negotiating a new deal, but this one was “rotten” and could not be saved.
Rouhani, in remarks translated by the Iranian television network PressTV, responded by accusing the United States of maintaining a “hostile” policy against the greater Middle East and having no regard for international law.
“Iran is a country that adheres to its commitments,” Rouhani declared. “The U.S. is a country that has never adhered to its agreements.”
“Since signing the nuclear deal until today, when has the United States ever adhered to its commitments?” Rouhani asked.
“We can clearly see which country is not respecting international agreements,” he continued. “The JCPOA was not an agreement between Iran and the United States, such that the United States would be able to exit such a deal.” Rouhani vowed to task Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif with negotiating the amendment of the JCPOA to allow for its continued existence, but only with the remaining parties to the deal: Iran, France, Germany, China, Russia, and the UK.
He went on to contend that the United States cannot be trusted to make international agreements because “the Americans have always adopted a hostile approach,” citing various “interventions” in the Middle East.
Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani was the most recent one to do so on Tuesday, before Trump announced his decision to withdraw.
“The Americans have not complied with their undertakings and created distrust on the international scene,” Larjani said, “an issue that even the Europeans have admitted; therefore, apparently one should speak with the Americans through the language of force and there is no other solution.”
The JCPOA temporarily prevented some activities related to nuclear development, but resulted in billions of dollars paid to Iran – from $150 billion in frozen assets as a result of sanctions released to a separate $1.7 billion payment related to a pre-Iranian revolution purchase – which Trump argued on Tuesday was largely funneled into terrorist activities by groups such as Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda.