Iranian lawmakers burn US flag, vow response ‘US and Zionists will regret’

Iranian lawmakers burn US flag, vow response ‘US and Zionists will regret’

Legislators also burn copy of nuclear deal after Trump pullout, with parliament speaker calling US president ‘egotistical and amateurish’

TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian lawmakers lit a paper US flag on fire at parliament Wednesday after US President Donald Trump’s nuclear deal pullout, shouting “Death to America!”

Lawmakers held the impromptu demonstration the day after Trump’s decision. They also burned a piece of paper representing the nuclear deal.

The chant “Death to America” long has been used in Iran since its 1979 Islamic Revolution. It also has been common to hear it within parliament.

However, Wednesday’s demonstration reflected public anger in Iran after Trump’s decision.

Parliament speaker Ali Larijani said Iran could return to its nuclear program, but would hold off at first on withdrawing from the nuclear pact.

“With a national consensus, we will give the US and Zionists a response that they will regret,” he said, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, left, presents the proposed annual budget to Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani Ali Larijani in the capital Tehran, on January 17, 2016, after sanctions were lifted under Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. (AFP/Atta Kenare)

Larijani also called Trump an “egotistical and amateurish politician,” for exiting the deal.

“Aren’t such idiotic measures shameful for a country with a claim on global management that even its allies are trying to stop him from taking them and control him?” he asked, according to Mehr

“Trump does not have the mental capacity to deal with issues,” Larijani said according to Reuters, citing Mizan, the website of the Iranian judiciary.

Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal imposed restrictions on its nuclear program in return for the lifting of most US and international sanctions.

However, the deal came with time limits and did not address Iran’s ballistic missile program or its regional policies in Syria and elsewhere.

Trump has repeatedly pointed to those omissions in referring to the accord as the “worst deal ever.” Proponents of the deal have said those time limits were meant to encourage more discussion with Iran in the future that could eventually address other concerns.

Many Iranians are worried about what Trump’s decision could mean for their country.

The Iranian rial is already trading on the black market at 66,000 to the dollar, despite a government-set rate of 42,000 rials. Many say they have not seen any benefits from the nuclear deal.

Iran’s poor economy and unemployment sparked nationwide protests in December and January that saw at least 25 people killed and, reportedly, nearly 5,000 arrested.

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