“If the ill-wishing side, our rival and enemy, leaves an agreement, this is not a defeat for us, but rather a defeat for the opposite side,” Rouhani said at a cabinet meeting in an explicit reference to the United States.
The president described the nuclear agreement as “a litmus test” for the world community, saying any party that walks away from the multilateral accord would be damaging its own credibility, Press TV reported.
He said the signatories that choose to honor their sides of the bargain are in fact protecting their own international reputation. “If any side fails to stand committed to the deal, it would be tarnishing its own reputation,” he said.
He also noted that the number of countries and regimes that support Washington’s hostile stance on the nuclear deal could be counted on the fingers of one hand.
On the contrary, he said, “Today, the world backs the path that the Islamic Republic of Iran has chosen and there is no one, even among the US’s allies in Europe, who supports destroying the agreement.”
Rouhani emphasized, “The nuclear deal is a major test for world governments and remaining committed to it constitutes a basis for confidence-building around the globe.”
In a recent interview with Forbes magazine, US President Donald Trump, replying to a question about whether he feels a responsibility to honor agreements from previous US administrations, said, “No.”
Referring to Trump’s comments, Rouhani said, “It is really a shame for a government to claim that it opposes any work accomplished by the former legitimate government.”
Unlike the US, European countries as well as Russia and China have underlined the need to sustain the agreement.
The nuclear accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was reached between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries — namely the US, Russia, China, France, Britain, plus Germany — in July 2015 and took effect in January 2016.
Under the deal, Iran undertook to apply certain limits to its nuclear program in exchange for the termination of all nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran.
The administration of Trump, which took over a year after the JCPOA had come into force, has repeatedly attacked the agreement.
While it has twice certified Iranian compliance with the deal in notifications to the US Congress under an American law, the White House has indicated that a third verification – due Oct. 15 – would not be offered.
If Trump refuses to certify, Congress would have 60 days to decide whether to restore the sanctions against the Islamic Republic that the US had agreed to waive under the deal.
By potentially re-imposing the nuclear-related bans, the US would be stopping the implementation of major obligations under the agreement, which would practically be equal to a pullout even if an official declaration of withdrawal is not released.
Rouhani defends IRGC
Trump is also expected to add Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps to Washington’s black list of terrorist groups under a strategy to increase pressure on Tehran.
Responding to the threat, Rouhani said US action against the IRGC would be a “mistake beyond mistakes.”
“They think that the Guards are a military entity. The IRGC is not a military entity. It is in people’s hearts. In all the days of danger, the IRGC has defended our national interests,” he said.
“We’re one society – Iran. When it comes to facing the plots of our enemies, there is no difference between different factions,” the president said.
“Today, the president of the United States has created conditions in which Iran has become more united than ever before. Today, those who oppose the nuclear deal and those who support it are on the same side. We all have one voice,” Rouhani said.