Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a live broadcast Monday that if President Donald Trump follows through with his promise to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, the United States “will surely regret it.”
President Trump has long been critical of the Obama-era agreement, calling it an “embarrassment” and “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.”
“The new U.S. president – who has big claims and many ups and downs in his words and actions – has been trying for 15 months to break the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action )… but the structure of the JCPOA is so strong that it has not been shaken by such quakes,” Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on state television, according to Reuters.
“Iran will not violate the nuclear deal, but if the United States withdraws from the deal, they will surely regret it. Our response will be stronger than what they imagine and they would see that within a week,” he added.
According to Reuters, Iran promises to ramp up its nuclear program if the deal collapses, though many feel as though the deal has done little to diminish Iran’s nuclear efforts anyway. Iran insists its efforts have been for research and technology, and that its missiles are purely defensive.
“We will produce any weapons necessary to defend our country in such a volatile region. But we will not use our weapons against our neighbors,” Rouhani has said.
Rouhani’s speech came in light of National Nuclear Technology Day in Tehran, where the country unveiled its latest nuclear achievements – including a nuclear battery and centrifuges for the oil industry.
It was not the first time Iran has suggested that pulling out of the deal would be a grave mistake for the U.S.
In early March, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif forewarned on state television: “If the United States makes the mistake of pulling out of the JCPOA, it will definitely be a painful mistake for the Americans.”
Trump’s threats regarding the nuclear deal have influenced Iran to consider all possible outcomes, including a JCPOA without the U.S., but which might still include some European allies, China and Russia. However, some analysts have suggested that the nuclear agreement would likely collapse altogether if the U.S. decides to pull out.
More recently, the President has leaned on European partners to “fix the terrible flaws” in the deal as a last resort. France, Britain and Germany outlined possible new sanctions for Iran as a way to not only keep Trump committed to the deal, but also persuade their EU partners to save the accord.