Iran’s Rouhani questions US ‘right’ to seek new nuclear deal
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Iran’s Rouhani questions US ‘right’ to seek new nuclear deal

Trump is ‘just a businessman’ with no experience of international agreements, says Iranian president; EU urges preserving 2015 pact

Iran's president Hassan Rouhani gives a speech in the city of Tabriz in the northwestern East-Azerbaijan province on April 25, 2018, (Atta Kenare/AFP)
Iran's president Hassan Rouhani gives a speech in the city of Tabriz in the northwestern East-Azerbaijan province on April 25, 2018, (Atta Kenare/AFP)

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday questioned the legitimacy of demands for a fresh nuclear agreement with Tehran, after the leaders of the US and France called for a “new” deal.

“Together with a leader of a European country they say: ‘We want to decide on an agreement reached by seven parties.’ What for? With what right?” Rouhani said in a speech.

US President Donald Trump has fiercely criticized a three-year-old deal reached by world powers to curb Iran’s nuclear program, and threatened to pull the US out of the agreement.

Trump is eyeing a broader pact that also limits Iran’s ballistic missile program and support for armed groups across the Middle East.

US President Donald Trump, right, and French President Emmanuel Macron hold a joint press conference at the White House in Washington, DC, April 24, 2018. (Ludovic MARIN/AFP)

European signatories to the 2015 deal have been scrambling to salvage it, though French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday after talks with Trump that he wished “for now to work on a new deal with Iran.”

Following Trump and Macron’s comments, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the current deal with Iran is working effectively and should be preserved for the future.

Mogherini, speaking in Brussels, said that “on what can happen in the future we will see in the future. But there is one deal, existing, it is working, It needs to be preserved.”

Iran has repeatedly insisted it is sticking to the nuclear deal and will not negotiate over its missile program.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini speaks to the media after a conference on ‘Supporting the future of Syria and the region at the Egmont Palace in Brussels, April 24, 2018. (Virginia Mayo/AP

Rouhani took aim at Trump — a former real estate mogul and TV reality star — and accused him of lacking in experience.

“You are just a businessman… you have no experience in politics or law or international agreements,” he said. “How can he pass judgements on international affairs?”

Rouhani insisted that by agreeing to the nuclear accord in 2015, Tehran “showed goodwill to the world.”

“We wanted to prove to the world that Iran does not seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction,” he said.

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