Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during a speech to parliament on Tuesday said his country could back out of its nuclear agreement responsibilities in "hours or days" if U.S. President Donald Trump's administration imposes sanctions. File Photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his country could back out of the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement in "hours or days" if U.S. President Donald Trump's administration keeps imposing sanctions.
Rouhani made the comment on Tuesday during a speech in Tehran's Islamic Consultative Assembly.
The recently re-elected Iranian leader said a "new chapter in Iran's foreign policy has started" because Tehran no longer considers the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear agreement a "threat to any country nor surrendering to any power" but instead a "win-win and balanced agreement."
Rouhani said Trump's administration is seeking to legitimize violating its own commitments to the agreement due to greed and because Iran is living up to its JCPOA responsibilities.
Last month, the U.S. Department of State said Iran was complying with the JCPOA, but was "unquestionably in default of the spirit" of the agreement.
Rouhani suggested Tuesday that the United States is the one guilty of failing to uphold the spirit of the deal, as the International Atomic Energy Agency's seven reports indicate Iran has "completely been working within the JCPOA."
"Those who are trying to return back to the language of sanction and threatening, are imprisoned in their own past illusions and are depriving themselves of the benefits of peace by making up enemies and promoting fear," Rouhani added. "Those who have been speaking about tearing up the JCPOA in recent months are accusing Iran of violating the spirit of the agreement."
The U.S. Treasury Department in late July levied new sanctions on Iran one day after the country launched a rocket capable of carrying a satellite into space -- saying the launch "represents a threatening step by Iran" because it uses "technologies that are closely related to those of an intercontinental ballistic missile."
Earlier this month, Trump signed into law a bill to strengthen sanctions against Russia, North Korea and Iran.
Rouhani did not expressly indicate if Iran would back out of the JCPOA directly because of the United States' recent sanctions, but rather he spoke generally by saying that if Washington wishes to return to a foreign policy of imposing sanctions then Iran would cease complying with the nuclear deal.
"They must know that it was the failed experience of sanction and imposition that took their previous administrations to the negotiating table and if they are willing to get back to those experiences, Iran will definitely return to a much more advanced state of the pre-negotiations era in a short time; it is just the matter of hours or days," Rouhani said.
Rouhani said the world has seen that Trump's administration ignores international agreements, citing the Paris climate change pact, Obama-era agreements with Cuba, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Trump has already said the JCPOA is one of the worst deals in history.
"I've never seen something so incompetently negotiated -- and I mean never," Trump previously said.