The Iranian government has released a statement in reaction to President Donald Trump’s speech today, accusing the United States of violating its commitments under the 2015 nuclear accord and emphasizing that Tehran will not renegotiate the deal. “The JCPOA is a valid international instrument and an outstanding achievement in contemporary diplomacy. It cannot be renegotiated or altered. The nuclear deal is not a bilateral agreement that can be annulled by unilateral action.” The statement called on the international community not to allow the Trump administration to undermine the deal. “The Islamic Republic of Iran will not be the first to withdraw from the deal, but if its rights and interests in the deal are not respected, it will stop implementing all its commitments and will resume its peaceful nuclear program without any restrictions,” it warned.
The statement also blasted the U.S. decision to blacklist the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.). “Any action by the U.S. administration or Congress against the IRGC will constitute a strategic mistake and will draw the indignation of the Iranian people and a strong and unified reciprocal reaction,” it said. “The U.S. President will have to bear full responsibility for all consequences of his rogue behavior,” it warned.
The statement defended the I.R.G.C.’s involvement in the Middle Eastern conflicts, and blamed Washington and its allies of instability and chaos in the Middle East. “The hostile policies of the United States and its regional allies, especially the Zionist regime, as well as the transfer of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of arms into the region that have turned the region into a tinderbox require the Islamic Republic of Iran not to be complacent about the country’s defense needs.”
Separately, President Hassan Rouhani also lambasted Trump’s speech and stressed that Iran will not succumb to U.S. pressure. “The Iranian nation is not a nation that surrenders to a dictator by false statements and hate speech and the great nation of Iran has never surrendered to any power,” Rouhani said in his televised speech soon after Trump’s remarks.
Comment: Despite the designation of the I.R.G.C. by the U.S. Treasury, Iran, as Rouhani’s remarks indicated, will not leave the nuclear agreement at this point. The Rouhani government is counting on European powers, as well as on China and Russia, to discourage Trump from abandoning the deal. And even if the U.S. unilaterally leaves the agreement, the Rouhani government hopes that the international community sides with Tehran, not with Washington. As Rouhani said in his speech today, Iran will remain in the deal as long as it perceives the deal serves its interests. The most important factor for Iran is that European and other international companies continue to do business with Iran. But if U.S. Congress reinstates the sanctions, it will have severe implications for the Iranian economy. The Rouhani government will also come under pressure from hardliners to walk away from the deal and resume nuclear activities.