Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at the inauguration ceremony of an international tourism event in the Iranian northwestern city of Tabriz on April 25, 2018. (Photo: by president.ir)

Defending Nuclear Pact, Iran's Rouhani Says Trump Has 'No Clue' About International Treaties or Law

"You are just a businessman, a tradesman," Iranian president declared, addressing Trump. "You are a tower builder. How is he going to pass judgment on international issues?"

Jon Queally

"The nuclear deal is the nuclear deal," said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in response to comments by both U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron at the White House a day earlier in which Macron suggested that changes could be made to (or alongside) a multi-lateral nuclear agreement in order to save it from sabotage by the Trump administration.

In a televised speech in Iran on Wednesday, Rouhani said that he spoke with Macron at length—presumably before Tuesday's events in Washington, D.C.— and told the French president "explicitly that we will not add anything to the deal or remove anything from it, even one sentence."

"You have no clue about politics, no clue about the law or international treaties. You are just a businessman, a tradesman. You are a tower builder. How is he going to pass judgment on international issues?"
—Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
Not sparing Trump direct rebuke, Rouhani blasted the U.S. president as unqualified for his position, declaring: "You have no clue about politics, no clue about the law or international treaties. You are just a businessman, a tradesman. You are a tower builder. How is he going to pass judgment on international issues?"

Rouhani warned that Trump and Macron cannot simply re-write a deal that was agreed to by seven parties. "Who allowed you to do that?" the Iranian president asked. "For what? With what right?"

He continued by saying that by agreeing to the the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA)—and by upholding all their commitments to it—Iran had "shown goodwill to the world." And still, Rouhani reaffirmed—as Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javar Zarif has also said plainly to U.S. news outlets in recent days—that with or without the deal his country will "not seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction."

Rouhani said that as long Iran's interests are "guaranteed we will remain in the deal, whether the U.S. remains or not." But, he added, that "if our benefits are not guaranteed, we will not remain in the deal, no matter what the circumstances are."

Macron's new proposal included elements suggesting that further actions could be taken to curb Iran's military power and regional influence, though it remained unclear exactly what they would mean. Macron's offer, the Guardian reported, "seemed calculated to appease the [Trump's] discontent with the current agreement, the [JCPOA] by proposing a broader initiative to tackle other elements of Iran's challenge in the region, particularly its ballistic missile program, and its military role in Syria."

Meanwhile, critics of Trump's threat to torpedo the international agreement continue to voice warnings that doing so puts the U.S. and Iran on a direct path to war.

"Donald Trump is setting up a dangerous catch-22 with Iran," warned Trita Parsi, president of the National American-Iranian Council, in a statement on Tuesday. "Trump is threatening war if Iran restarts nuclear activities on one hand while he unravels the very agreement that prevents a nuclear-armed Iran on the other. This is more than a war of words, Donald Trump is setting us up for a very real military conflict."

Macron and Europe seem "willing to bend over backwards to save the nuclear deal and prevent catastrophe," added Parsi. "When our closest allies express alarm in unison, we should listen. Trump should quit while he is ahead and reaffirm the U.S. commitment to the JCPOA before it is too late. The alternative would be an isolated America, an unchecked Iranian nuclear program, and an escalation towards war."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Fears of Escalation as Ukraine Answers Russian Missile Onslaught With Strike Deep Inside Invader's Territory

Ukrainian drones bombed two air bases more than 300 miles inside Russia, reportedly killing three soldiers, wounding four others, and damaging multiple warplanes.

Brett Wilkins ·


Patient Groups Push Congress to Combat Big Pharma Greed in Spending Bill

"As Congress works toward finalizing an end-of-year budget package, we urge the chambers to include bipartisan legislation to address abuse of the Food and Drug Administration's citizen petition process in order to reduce drug prices and save the government hundreds of millions of dollars."

Brett Wilkins ·


10,000+ Sign Open Letter Demanding Biden Order Paid Sick Leave for Railway Workers

"No one, especially in the world's richest nation, should have to choose between forgoing pay or working through severe illness and family emergencies," says The Lever's letter.

Jessica Corbett ·


Right-Wing SCOTUS Majority Signals Support for Anti-LGBTQ+ Reactionaries

"It does not bode well for the future of civil rights law that Gorsuch believes a state imposes 'reeducation training' on employers when it reminds them how to comply with nondiscrimination rules," said one court observer.

Julia Conley ·


Report Reveals Corporate Capture of Global Biodiversity Efforts Ahead of Summit

"Their 'solutions' are carefully crafted in order to not undermine their business models; ultimately they do nothing for the environment," said one Friends of the Earth campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo