‘Building constructor’ Trump lacks qualifications to judge nuclear deal, Iran’s president says
The future of the seven-sided agreement has been a top agenda item during French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Washington this week – but Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called into question whether Trump even has the intellectual fortitude to judge the deal.
“You don’t have any background in politics. You don’t have any background in law. You don’t have any background on international treaties,” Rouhani said of Trump during a televised address. “How can a tradesman, a merchant, a building constructor, a tower constructor make judgments about international affairs,” he added, referring to Trump’s colorful career as a real estate developer.
Rouhani also rebuked Macron’s assumption that the deal, which has seven signatories, should be revised solely to satisfy Trump’s misgivings.
“They say that with the certain leader of a European country we want to make a decision about a seven-sided agreement,” Rouhani noted. “For what? With what right?” he added.
The agreement between Tehran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (the P5+1 group) eased sanctions in exchange for tight restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear program. Iran has been accused of secretly developing nuclear weapons – a claim which it denies. The landmark accord was reached after nearly a decade of negotiations.
Trump called the deal “insane” and said it "should have never ever been made,” while Macron urged that the deal be preserved but expanded in order to ensure that Tehran will not have a nuclear program “in the long run.”
On Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the Associated Press that “there won’t be any deal for Iran to stay in” if Washington re-imposes sanctions or unilaterally withdraws from the agreement.
"If the United States were to withdraw from the nuclear deal, the immediate consequence in all likelihood would be that Iran would reciprocate and withdraw," Zarif said.
The Iranian diplomat told NPR on Monday that renegotiating the 2015 deal would be tantamount to opening a "Pandora's box" that would undermine US credibility in future international talks.
A senior Iranian official also suggested that Tehran may withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if Trump scraps the nuclear deal. Iran has been party to the treaty – which aims to limit the spread of nuclear weapons technology – since 1970.
Trump will decide whether to renew the deal or not on May 12. “We're going to see what happens on the 12th but if Iran threatens us in any way they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid," he warned on Tuesday.
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