UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Iran’s president warned Wednesday that his country will “respond decisively” to any violation of the agreement that reins in its nuclear program and called U.S. President Donald Trump’s “ignorant, absurd and hateful rhetoric” about Iran unfit for the United Nations.
In remarks clearly directed at Trump’s 8-month-old administration, Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani told the U.N. General Assembly: “It will be a great pity if this agreement were to be destroyed by rogue newcomers to the world of politics.”
“The world will have lost a great opportunity, but such unfortunate behavior will never impede Iran’s course of progress and advancement,” Rouhani said.
His speech came a day after Trump, in his own address to the assembly, called the U.N.-backed Iran nuclear deal “an embarrassment” to the United States.
And he hinted that his administration, which has accused Tehran of aiding terrorism in the Middle East, could soon declare Iran out of compliance with the deal. That could unravel it.
“I don’t think you’ve heard the end of it, believe me,” Trump said.
Rouhani retorted that “the ignorant, absurd and hateful rhetoric, filled with ridiculously baseless allegations, that was uttered before this august body yesterday” didn’t befit an organization established to promote peace and respect among nations.
In a later tweet, he made clear that the comments were directed at Trump.
The Iranian president said his country would not be the first to breach the nuclear agreement, “but it will respond decisively to its violation by any party.”
Iran has accused the Trump administration of not living up to its requirements on sanctions relief under the nuclear deal, and Rouhani said America was harming itself.
“By violating its international commitments, the new U.S. administration only destroys its own credibility and undermines international confidence in negotiating with it or accepting its word or promise,” he said.
The Iranian leader also lambasted Israel, calling it a “rogue” nation.
Israel sees Iran as its most dangerous adversary, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Tuesday for scrapping or changing the 2015 nuclear deal. He said Iran had embarked on a “campaign of conquest across the Middle East.”
Rouhani replied that it was “reprehensible that the rogue Zionist regime that threatens regional and global security with its nuclear arsenal … has the audacity to preach to peaceful nations.” Israel is believed to have hundreds of nuclear weapons,…