Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has rejected the US-French call for a new nuclear deal. Rouhani insisted that by signing the Joint Comprehensive Plan for Action in 2015, Iran demonstrated its goodwill to the world.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani (picture-alliance/AP Photo/E. Noroozi)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani challenged Wednesday the demands for a fresh nuclear deal, saying Tehran’s endorsement of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan for Action proved to the world that his country “does not seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction.”

His statement came a day after US President Donald Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron called for a “new deal” with Tehran.

“Together with a leader of a European country, they say: ‘We want to decide on an agreement reached by seven parties.’ What for? With what right?” Rouhani said in a speech.

The Iranian president accused Trump of lacking political experience: “You are just a businessman… you have no experience in politics or law or international agreements. How can you pass judgements on international affairs?” he said.

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Beyond the nuclear program

President Trump has fiercely criticized the landmark nuclear deal, which was signed by his predecessor President Barack Obama. Apart from the US and Iran, the UK, Russia, France, China and Germany are also part of the accord.

Trump believes the deal favors Iran and he wants to pull out. But during his visit to the US, Macron said he spoke to the US president about a “new deal” through which the US and Europe would tackle Trump’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program and beyond.

Speaking at a press conference with Trump, the French president suggested that a new accord could also take into account Iran’s ballistic missile program, and stop Tehran from its activities in Syria and Yemen.

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EU, Russia not on board

Macron, however, does not have the European Union’s backing for his proposal: “But there is one deal existing, it is working and it needs to be preserved,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on the sidelines of a Syria conference in Burssels.

“It (the deal) has been preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and commits Iran not to develop a nuclear weapon, without a limit,” Mogherini added.

Read more: Iran and North Korea: The return of John Bolton’s ‘axis of evil’?

Russia also rejected the Trump-Macron call: “We believe there is no alternative [to the 2015 agreement],” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

“We are in favor of keeping the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in its current form.”

“The question is: will it be possible to repeat such successful work in the current situation?” Peskov added.

Trump faces a May 12 deadline to make a final decision on sanctions.

Read more: Yemen truce brings lull in fighting – for now

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shs/jm  (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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