NEW YORK - Iran's president struck back at Donald Trump on Tuesday, hours after the US leader delivered a speech castigating the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic.
Addressing the UN General Assembly in New York, Hassan Rouhani accused the Trump administration of having a “Nazi disposition” within minutes of opening his remarks, later stating: “The United States’ understanding of international relations is authoritarian.”
“No state or nation can be brought to the negotiating table by force,” Rouhani said, using the majority of his time at the UN podium criticizing his American counterpart.
Trump withdrew in May from a nuclear deal with Iran brokered by the UN Security Council and Germany, providing Rouhani with ample opportunity to cite the agreement as rooted in international law. The council endorsed the 2015 agreement in a formal resolution.
“We consider nuclear knowledge an imperative and nuclear weapons prohibitive,” Rouhani said, warning that Tehran would meet “commitment for commitment, violation for violation, threat for threat.”
Earlier in the day, Trump characterized the Iranian government as a cancer on the Middle East.
“Iran’s leaders sow chaos, death and destruction,” Trump said. They do not respect their neighbors or borders or the sovereign rights of nations. Instead, Iran’s leaders plunder the nation’s resources to enrich themselves and to spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond.
“The Iranian people are rightly outraged that their leaders have embezzled billions of dollars from Iran’s treasury, seized valuable portions of the economy, and looted the people’s religious endowments, all to line their own pockets and send their proxies to wage war,” Trump continued. “Not good.”
In his speech, Rouhani argued that the most “pressing” issue facing the Middle East was Israel’s occupation of “Palestine” and characterized the state as a “racist,” “apartheid” regime, slamming its passage of the Nation-State Law.
Israel, he charged, is “equipped with a nuclear arsenal and blatantly threatening others with nuclear annihilation.”
Rouhani offered interviews to American journalists during his visit to New York in which he slammed Trump’s attempts to zero out Tehran’s oil exports and worsen its dire economic crisis. He said that Trump has repeatedly asked to meet, but that he would decline to do so until Trump comes back to negotiations on the basis of the 2015 nuclear accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
The Iranian president suggested that Trump had pulled out of the agreement to scuttle “the legacy of his domestic political rivals.” Former president Barack Obama spearheaded the agreement.
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