Tehran, Iran | AFP | Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani slammed his critics on Wednesday, defending the political achievements of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal and calling the US an “oath-breaker”.
“One should not condemn the government or the great Islamic system instead of America — this is the greatest damage that can be done,” he said on state TV.
Hardliners have repeatedly hammered the 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers since the early stages of negotiations, calling it a fool’s errand and a deception.
They contend that Iran has gained nothing from the agreement despite complying with its restrictions on the Islamic republic’s nuclear programme, intensifying their criticism after Washington withdrew from the treaty last year.
Speaking during an annual ceremony of allegiance to the late founder of the Islamic republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Rouhani said: “America has not been an oath-breaker only to us, but also to Europe, China, NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).”
President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the deal — technically called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — last May, reimposing punishing sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Washington also withdrew from the TPP trade agreement in 2016, the Paris Agreement on climate change control the next year and forced Canada and Mexico to renegotiate and sign a new deal in 2018 replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The other parties to the Iran nuclear deal — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia along with the European Union — have insisted it remains in force and is working.
Rouhani took another jab at opponents who have criticised Iranian diplomats’ lack of foresight over not predicting the US withdrawal.
“No agreement is based on whether the other party remains, but the main basis is the country’s interests,” he said.
He ended his speech by calling for “unity”, saying Khomeini’s main concern was not foreign forces but domestic “discord”.