Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani questioned the legitimacy of demands for a fresh nuclear agreement with Tehran, after the leaders of the United States and France called for a "new" pact covering Tehran's missile program and regional activities.
"We have an agreement called the JCPOA," said Rouhani, using the technical name for the 2015 deal that curbed Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
"It will either last or not. If the JCPOA stays, it stays in full."
"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 his fiery speech in the northwestern city of Tabriz.
He was responding to statements in Washington by French President Emmanuel Macron and his US counterpart Donald Trump, in which they proposed a new deal with tougher restrictions on Iran.
Trump called the existing accord "insane" and “ridiculous,” despite European pleas for him not to walk away, and demanded fresh curbs on Iran's ballistic missile program and support for resistance groups across the Middle East.
Macron said the new agreement should include a settlement on Syria, where Iran backs President Bashar al-Assad.
Iran has repeatedly insisted it is sticking to the nuclear deal and will not negotiate over its missile program.
In Iran, Rouhani responded by ridiculing Trump – a former real estate mogul and TV reality star – and accusing him of lacking experience.
"You have no expertise in politics, nor in law, nor in international accords. A tradesman, a businessman, a high-rise builder, how can he judge about global issues?"
Rouhani insisted that by agreeing to the nuclear accord in 2015, Tehran "showed goodwill to the world."
"We wanted to prove to the world that Iran does not seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction."
“Through this agreement, we revealed the slanderers and proved that the US and Israel had been lying for decades,” Rouhani said.
He argued that the JCPOA proved the Iranophobia campaign to be wrong and demonstrated to the global community that the so-called possible military dimensions (PMD) dossier for Iran’s nuclear program, which unfairly imposed anti-Iran resolutions under Chapter VII of the UN Charter was a “lie.”
The UN Charter’s Chapter VII authorizes the UN Security Council to allow measures such as sanctions or military intervention if countries do not meet its demands.
EU: Deal is working
The other powers that signed the agreement with Iran – Russia, China, Germany, Britain and France – have all said they want to preserve it because it is working and Tehran has stuck to its commitments.
On Wednesday, EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini insisted the deal must be maintained.
"On what can happen in the future, we’ll see in the future, but there is one deal existing, it’s working, it needs to be preserved," the former Italian foreign minister said in Brussels.
Moscow also reiterated its support, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov telling reporters: "We believe that no alternative exists so far."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to press the case for staying in the agreement again when she visits Washington on Friday.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday that keeping the international nuclear deal with Iran is a top priority for Germany and it cannot be renegotiated.
“For us, the position stays clear – the highest priority is keeping the nuclear agreement and full implementation on all sides,” said the spokesman.
“The nuclear agreement was negotiated with seven countries… and can’t be renegotiated... but it is also clear that beyond the nuclear agreement we want to make sure that Iran’s nuclear program serves exclusively peaceful purposes.”
Macron has positioned himself as an emissary for European officials seeking a compromise that allows the mercurial US president to claim a public victory, while keeping the deal intact.
But he admitted after meeting Trump that he still did not know whether the US president would walk away from the nuclear deal when the next deadline for renewal comes up on May 12.
Trump – true to his background in reality TV – teased his looming decision.
"This is a deal with decayed foundations. It's a bad deal, it's a bad structure. It's falling down," the US president said. "We're going to see what happens on the 12th."
Putting on a brave face, Macron said he wished "for now to work on a new deal with Iran" of which the nuclear accord could be one part, but neither leader indicated what Iran might get in return.
Iran, meanwhile, has threatened it will ramp up enrichment if Trump walks away from the accord, prompting a blunt warning from the US leader.
"They're not going to be restarting anything. If they restart it, they're going to have big problems, bigger than they ever had before. And you can mark it down," Trump said.
Trump had earlier said his predecessors should have made a deal that “covered Yemen, that covered Syria. No matter where you go in the Middle East, you see the fingerprints of Iran."
Source of Mideast problems
Elsewhere in his remarks, Rouhani slammed US interventions in the Middle East, saying the White House is not in a position to make decisions for all nations in this region.
Rouhani said many of the problems facing the Middle East stem from fallacious viewpoints and statements about its peoples, noting that some countries think that an “oppressive and occupying regime” must permanently dominate the people of other countries.
“They think that the White House must decide for the Middle East. This way, they think they can plunder all the resources of the Arab world,” Rouhani pointed out.
“Where have you set your greedy eyes on? On the underground reserves of black gold or the multi-billion-dollar bank accounts of certain regional Arab countries?” the Iranian president asked, addressing US officials.
Rouhani noted that US officials tend to adopt stances that are not congruent with the conditions of the modern age and the dignity of Middle Eastern nations. “You overtly assert that you will stay [in the region] with the money of other [countries]. Therefore, you are a mercenary of other [countries]. Your army is looking for a resource to plunder and feed on. Does this bring you dignity?”
Rouhani further referred to statements by US President Donald Trump who said Tuesday that some “immensely wealthy” countries in the Middle East have to pay for American protection and deploy their own troops in Syria.
AFP, Reuters and Press TV contributed to this story.