Iranian President Hassan Rouhani defended a landmark nuclear deal with Western powers and said that U.S. President Donald Trump could not undermine it. Under the 2015 deal, Iran agreed to limit its disputed nuclear program in return for the easing of economic sanctions.
"In the nuclear negotiations and agreement we reached issues and benefits that are not reversible. No one can turn that back, not Mr. Trump or anyone else," Rouhani said at a ceremony at Tehran University marking the start of the university academic year, according to state media. "Even if 10 other Trumps are created in the world, these are not reversible."
He said that if the United States violated the deal then it would hurt its own reputation in the international community. "If America carries out any violations today, the whole world will condemn America. They will not condemn Iran," Rouhani said, according to state media. "Then they will say why did you trust America and sign an agreement with them?"
President Donald Trump, who has called the pact an "embarrassment" and "the worst deal ever negotiated", has been weighing whether the deal serves U.S. security interests as he faces the Oct. 15 deadline for certifying that Iran is complying with its terms. If Trump does not certify that Iran is in compliance, the U.S. Congress will have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions waived under the deal. U.N. inspectors have verified Iranian compliance with the terms.
Trump appears to be stepping back from his campaign pledge to tear up the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, instead aiming to take other measures against Iran and its affiliates.
New actions expected to be announced by the White House in the coming days will focus on the Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group blamed for sowing discord in the Middle East and seeking Israel's demise. They include financial sanctions on anyone who does business with the Revolutionary Guard, as well as millions of dollars in rewards for information leading to the arrest of two operatives of Iran-backed Hezbollah.
The chief of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard said Sunday the U.S. should move its military bases farther from Iran's borders if it imposes new sanctions against Tehran, the official IRNA news reported.
The Sunday report quotes Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari as saying: "If new sanctions go into effect, the country should move its regional bases to a 2000-kilometer (1,240-mile) radius" out of the range of Iranian missiles.
Currently, U.S. military bases are located in countries neighboring Iran, including Bahrain, Iraq, Oman and Afghanistan, less than 500 kilometers (310 miles) from Iran's borders.
Jafari rejected the idea of negotiating with the U.S. over regional issues and said if the United States designates the Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group, the Guard — which has suffered significant casualties fighting the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq — will also consider the U.S. army a terrorist group. He said such moves by the U.S. will eliminate "any chance for engagement forever."