Iran's Rohani Questions 'Right' To Seek New Nuclear Deal, Criticizes Trump
RFE/RL April 25, 2018
Iranian President Hassan Rohani has voiced doubts about the legitimacy of demands for a fresh nuclear agreement between world powers and Tehran, after the leaders of the United States and France called for a "new" deal.
"Together with a leader of a European country, [the Americans] say: 'We want to decide on an agreement reached by seven parties,'" Rohani said in a televised speech on April 25.
U.S. President Donald Trump and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, said after meeting at the White House on April 24 that they want to negotiate a new deal with Iran going beyond its landmark 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers to encompass broader concerns in the region.
"What for? With what right?" Rohani said, referring to the proposal.
Trump has given the nuclear agreement's European signatories a May 12 deadline to fix what he calls its "terrible flaws," threatening to effectively withdraw the United States from the deal by refusing to extend waivers on U.S. sanctions if they do not do so.
In his speech, Rohani also railed against Trump, calling him an inexperienced "tradesman."
"You don't have any background in politics," Rohani said about the U.S. president.
"You don't have any background in law. You don't have any background on international treaties. How can a tradesman, a merchant, a building constructor, a tower constructor make judgments about international affairs," Rohani added, referring to Trump's previous career as a property developer.
Macron, who is on a three-day state visit to the United States seen as a mission to salvage the nuclear deal, said after his talks with Trump on April 24 that he believes it will be possible to "build something new that will cover all of our concerns."
Macron said the current nuclear agreement could be seen as one "pillar" of a broader accord that he said should include three other "pillars."
They would deal with Iran's long-term nuclear ambitions beyond the current scope of the deal, its ballistic-missile program, and political solutions to contain Iran's involvement in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon, Macron said.
Senior Iranian officials have warned that Iran's ballistic missile program is not up for negotiation.
The broader deal would address the "whole of the situation in the region" and would be the only way to "bring about stability" there while also addressing Trump's criticisms of the nuclear deal, Macron said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also due to hold talks with Trump in Washington later in the week.
With reporting by Reuters, dpa, and AFP
Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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