President Hassan Rouhani used his inauguration for a second term on Saturday to continue Iran’s denunciation of the US over the 2015 nuclear deal.
Soon after he was confirmed by Parliament, Rouhani told the European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini:
The recurrent breaches of commitments by the US government and its move to impose new sanctions on Iran have had negative impacts on Iran’s public opinion.
They can be destructive in the course of the implementation of the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action].
Rouhani repeated the Iranian warning that Parliament will pass legislation to “reciprocate the new US measures”.
The Rouhani Government has been concerned, ever since the implementation in January 2016 of the nuclear deal, about ongoing US restrictions which have hampered the renewal of foreign trade and investment. However, the agitation of the regime has increased since June because of the passage of new sanctions by the US Congress, signed by Donald Trump last week.
Starting with the Supreme Leader, Iran’s political and military officials have declared that Iran will prevail over the American sanctions and will confront the US with a proportionate response.
At the same time, they have said that Iran will not step away from the agreement, a position reiterated by Rouhani to Mogherini: “The Islamic Republic of Iran has always remained committed to implementing the JCPOA and will fulfill its commitments as long as the opposite side does not violate it.”
Referring to the economic challenges, the President emphasized the importance of the “immediate and complete” implementation of “an important part” of the JCPOA about Iran’s economic, banking, and trade relations with other countries. He pointed in particular to Tehran’s effort to attract European investment and separate the EU and its countries from the US line:
There are very appropriate grounds for investment in Iran in various sectors such as energy, oil, gas and petrochemistry and we can have good cooperation with Europe in all fields in line with the expansion of relations….
Iran and the European Union took positive and important steps to expand relations and cooperation over the past four years and these ties will be very important at a time that different parts of the world, particularly the Middle East region, are experiencing concerns, tensions and numerous complicated problems.
According to Iranian State media, Mogherini said Iran and the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia) are duty-bound to “fully and properly implement the deal”.
The EU official also met Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the Supreme Leader’s top aide Ali Akbar Velayati on Saturday.
“We Will Not Remain Silent”
Addressing Parliament in his inaugural speech, Rouhani continued the themes of Iranian firmness while adhering to the agreement, “Iran would not be the first to pull out of the nuclear deal, but it will not remain silent about the US repeated violations of the accord”.
The President threw in an allusion to the first US explosion of its largest non-nuclear bomb, in Afghanstan in April — “Today is the time for the mother of all negotiations, not the mother of all bombs” — before trying to press home his point, completely with a reference to Donald Trump’s inexperience:
The US has showed a lack of commitment in its implementation of the nuclear deal because its policymakers are addicted to the illegal and futile policy of sanctions and humiliation. This has proved the US to be an unreliable partner to the world and even to its longtime allies.
We do not wish to engage with political novices….Those who want to tear up the nuclear deal should know that they will be ripping up their own political life by doing so and the world won’t forget their noncompliance.
Rouhani’s inauguration ceremony, including the President’s speech: