TwitterFacebookPinterestGoogle+

Iran's Ayatollah slams 'silly and superficial' Trump in nuclear deal fallout


Iran’s supreme leader chastised President Donald Trump on Wednesday over his decision to pull America out of the 2015 nuclear deal and lawmakers lit a paper U.S. flag on fire inside parliament, shouting, “Death to America!”

“You heard last night that the president of America made some silly and superficial comments,” said Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “He had maybe more than 10 lies in his comments. He threatened the regime and the people, saying I’ll do this and that. Mr. Trump I tell you on behalf of the Iranian people: You’ve made a mistake.”

Khamenei, the highest authority in Iran, reluctantly gave his backing for the Iran nuclear deal and has publicly criticized the U.S. multiple times for not following through on its promises under the agreement.

The government backlash reflected broad public anger in Iran over Trump’s decision, which threatens to destroy the landmark agreement. While Iranian officials, including the parliament speaker, say they hope Europe will work with them to preserve the deal, many are pessimistic.

In comments before schoolteachers, Khamenei told Trump: “You cannot do a damn thing!” The exhortation from Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters, follows a pattern of Iranian leaders declaring their nation’s ability to resist foreign pressure or interference.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, shown in a picture released April 30, accused U.S. President Donald Trump of lying several times during his announcement that he would scrap the 2015 multilateral agreement. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Khamenei described Trump’s speech as having “over 10 lies,” without elaborating on them. He also said Trump’s remarks threatened both Iran’s people and its theocratic government.

Earlier Wednesday, the lawmakers, including a Shia cleric, held the flaming flag alight as their colleagues joined their chants. They also burned a piece of paper representing the nuclear deal and stomped on the papers’ ashes.

Will seek input from other signatories

While U.S. flag burning is common in Iran and harsh criticism of the U.S. has been a staple of Iranian parliamentary politics for years, it was the first time political observers could remember anything being burned inside the parliament itself.

The 2015 agreement, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), imposed restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in return for the lifting of most U.S. and international sanctions.

However, the deal came with time limits and did not address Iran’s ballistic missile program or its regional policies in Syria and elsewhere. Trump has repeatedly pointed to those omissions in referring to the accord as the “worst deal ever.” Proponents of the deal have said those time limits were meant to encourage more discussion with Iran in the future that could eventually address other concerns.

U.S. President Donald Trump has pulled America from the Iran nuclear deal, in a move to reinstate strict economic sanctions. 9:22

Late Tuesday night, President Hassan Rouhani said he would send Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the countries still in the deal — China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom.

Iran hopes the European Union will pass laws to protect European firms from any potential U.S. sanctions. EU officials have suggested they’ll do what they can to salvage the agreement.

Still, Rouhani made a point of stressing that Iran, at any time, could resume its nuclear program.

“So if necessary, we can begin our industrial enrichment without any limitations,” the Iranian leader said. “Until implementation of this decision, we will wait for some weeks and will talk with our friends and allies and other signatories of the nuclear deal, who signed it and who will remain loyal to it. Everything depends on our national interests.”

On Wednesday morning after the flag burning, parliament speaker Ali Larijani said responsibility for saving the deal fell on the EU and other world powers still in the accord.

“The period is only a window in which the EU can prove if it has enough weight for settling down international issues or not?” he said.

An Iranian displays the front page of a newspaper in Tehran on Wednesday, reflecting the news from Washington. (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

Larijani also urged the country’s nuclear department to prepare for “resumption of all aspects of nuclear activities.”

Many Iranians are worried about what Trump’s decision could mean for their country.

The Iranian rial is already trading on the black market at 66,000 to the dollar, despite a government-set rate of 42,000 rials. Many say they have not seen any benefits from the nuclear deal.

Iran’s poor economy and unemployment sparked nationwide protests in December and January that saw at least 25 people killed and, reportedly, nearly 5,000 arrested.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.