Iran’s president lashed out at the United States on Monday and threatened to immediately reboot nuclear efforts if Washington walks away from the deal between Tehran and world powers, as Iran marked “National Nuclear Day,” dedicated to its achievements in nuclear technology.
Hassan Rouhani said that despite many attempts, the US has “failed to destroy” the landmark 2015 deal between Iran and world powers.
Rouhani also mocked US President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly described the nuclear agreement as “bad.” Trump extended sanctions waivers in January but has declined to re-certify the nuclear deal.
“They spent huge amounts of dollars and talked a lot, and posted so many tweets, thinking that this building would shake with tweets,” Rouhani said of the Trump administration. His speech was broadcast live on Iranian state TV.
The nuclear agreement curbed Tehran’s controversial nuclear enrichment program in exchange for relief from international sanctions.
Rouhani reaffirmed his government’s commitment to the deal and said Iran would not be the first to violate it. He also stressed Iran is ready to quickly revert to the situation before the deal, should the US abandon it.
Trump has threatened to tear up the 2015 nuclear deal unless new restrictions are imposed on Iran’s ballistic missile program and other military activities by May 12.
“If they breach the deal, they will see its impact within a week or less than a week,” Rouhani said.
The spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Agency, Behrouz Kamalvandi, claimed that should the deal collapse, Iran would be able to restart the enrichment program and enrich uranium to the level of 20 percent within two days. Weapons-grade uranium is 90 percent enriched.
Rouhani on Monday also unveiled dozens of Iran’s purported nuclear achievements, including a centrifuge for use in the oil industry and a laser spectrometer.
Iran often boasts of technological achievements which are impossible to independently verify.
In his speech, Rouhani urged Arab countries in the Mideast — many of them US allies — to stop cooperating with Washington and turn to each other instead.
“Trust your nation’s powers and the power of regional nations,” he said. “Let’s stand together.”
On Wednesday, Rouhani said that Iran “does not intend any aggression” against its neighbors but will continue to produce all the weapons it needs for its defense.
“We tell the world that we will produce any weapons that we need, or if necessary we will procure them. We have not been waiting… and will not wait for your remarks or agreement,” said Rouhani at the military parade in Tehran.
“But at the same time we announce to our neighboring countries in the region… we do not intend any aggression against you,” he added.
Regional rival Saudi Arabia accuses Iran, the patron of Hezbollah and key backer of Syrian strongman Bashar Assad, of seeking to dominate the Middle East through the expansion of proxy forces in countries like Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.
Iran argues these forces operate with the permission of allied governments to fight jihadist groups and prevent the disintegration of states.
Rouhani did not appear to reference Israel, which Iran considers an “illegitimate regime” and whose dissolution is a top priority for the country’s Islamic rulers.
Israel has expressed concern over the growing presence of Iranian forces along its borders, especially following an Iranian drone incursion into Israel last month, and has recently launched air strikes against Iranian positions in Syria.