TEHRAN:President Hassan Rouhani rejected any hopes of rewriting a nuclear deal with world powers Wednesday, after the leaders of the United States and France called for a new pact covering Tehran’s missile programme and regional interventions.
“We have an agreement called the JCPOA,” said Rouhani in a fiery speech, using the technical name for the 2015 deal that curbed Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.
“It will either last or not. If the JCPOA stays, it stays in full.”
He was responding to statements in Washington by French President Emmanuel Macron and his US counterpart Donald Trump, in which they proposed a new deal with tougher restrictions on Iran.
Trump called the existing accord “insane” and “ridiculous”, despite European pleas for him not to walk away, and demanded fresh curbs on Iran’s ballistic missile programme and support for militant groups across the Middle East.
Macron said the new agreement should include a settlement on Syria, where Iran backs President Bashar al-Assad.
In Iran, Rouhani responded by ridiculing Trump, saying: “You have no expertise in politics, nor in law, nor in international accords.
“A tradesman, a businessman, a high-rise builder, how can he judge about global issues?”
Iran has the support of all other parties to the accord, who say it is working and Tehran has stuck to its commitments.
On Wednesday, EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini insisted the deal must be maintained.
“On what can happen in the future we’ll see in the future, but there is one deal existing, it’s working, it needs to be preserved,” the former Italian foreign minister said as she arrived for a donor conference on Syria in Brussels.
Moscow also reiterated its support, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov telling reporters: “We believe that no alternative exists so far” and demanding that Iran be involved in any further discussions.—AFP