'The table they are talking about has broken legs'

Rouhani mocks US claim that all options are still on the table

Iran’s president refers to ‘broken’ US table after Kerry warns Tehran against violating nuclear deal

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani addressing the nation after a nuclear agreement was announced in Vienna, in Tehran, Iran, on July 14, 2015. (AP/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani addressing the nation after a nuclear agreement was announced in Vienna, in Tehran, Iran, on July 14, 2015. (AP/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday called on Washington officials to stop using threatening language against Tehran, hitting back at comments by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Rouhani’s statement, published by the semi-official Fars news agency, came after Kerry said Thursday that the military option remains on the table vis-a-vis Iran, in case it does not adhere to the agreement on its nuclear program reached with world powers earlier this month.

“The US should know that it has no other option but respecting Iran and showing modesty towards the country and saying the right thing,” Rouhani told a crowd in the western Iranian city of Sanandij on Sunday.

Kerry said in a Washington Post op-ed jointly written with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz published Thursday that the nuclear deal “extends the time Iran would need to develop a nuclear weapon, provides strong verification measures that give us ample time to respond if Iran chooses that path, and takes none of our options off the table.”

“The table they are talking about has broken legs,” Rouhani retorted Sunday.

“Today we enjoy the victory of all Iranians after 12 years insisting on reason and dialogue despite the threats and pressure imposed by world powers,” he continued, according to the Mehr News Agency. “Who could believe seeing a day in which those insisting on dismantling Iran’s nuclear cycle surrender to Iranians’ will to have the peaceful nuclear program.”

The US has also objected to Iranian rhetoric, most recently Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s calls of “Death to America” at an official rally. Kerry said Friday that he urged the Iranian government to cease calls for the demise of the US and Israel.

Rouhani’s comments came a week after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Iran neither welcomes war nor initiates it, but “the one who will emerge loser with be the aggressive and criminal US.”

Iran and world powers agreed earlier this month in Vienna on a deal that limits Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for an end to crippling economic sanctions.

Despite saying US military action against Iran remained in play, Kerry told NBC’s “Today” program on Friday that any unilateral Israeli military action against Iran over its nuclear program would be a “huge mistake.”

According to the results of a recent poll, almost half of Israelis would support a unilateral strike to prevent Iran obtaining nuclear weapons.

Asked on NBC’s “Today” show if the nuclear deal signed between the world powers and Iran last week in Vienna would make it more likely that Israel would attempt an attack, Kerry said: “That’d be an enormous mistake, a huge mistake with grave consequences for Israel and for the region, and I don’t think it’s necessary.”

Nearly three-quarters of respondents in the poll published by the Maariv newspaper on Friday said they thought the agreement would accelerate Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon, not prevent it as claimed by the powers.

Additionally, half of Israelis (51%) felt Jerusalem should use whatever means necessary to convince the US Congress to reject the deal, while only 38% said it was now time to engage with US President Barack Obama on the execution of the deal in order to achieve conditions preferable to Israel. Eleven percent said they did not know what the best course of action was.

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