Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday the US president expected Tehran to leave the nuclear deal after the US withdrawal, but he miscalculated.
He said Tehran had refused to follow that plan by trying to save the deal with its remaining signatories.
Trump played his first card, but miscalculated the second move... as Iran did not follow that plan,” the president’s official website reported.
President Rouhani made the remarks during a government meeting on Wednesday in Tehran.
He also referred to the international support thrown behind Iran after Trump chose for his country to leave the 2015 multi-lateral nuclear deal with Iran last Tuesday.
He said, “Today, Iranophobia, which they (the US) have been spreading to convince the world through false propaganda that Iran is [a source of] threat, has given its place to Trumpophobia.”
This is because all know that Iran is a country, which treads down the path of peace and acts in line with international regulations, he said, noting that “today, the US should come under pressure as a country going against its promises and acting in contravention of regulations.”
It is the United States, rather than Iran, that needs to be accused of wrongdoing, he said.
Rouhani stressed that the entire world, including the United Nations nuclear watchdog, has verified Iran’s commitment to its obligations under the deal, while all are insisting that Washington has acted unwisely and in violation of international rules.
Rouhani said some assume that pressure, sanctions and military threats can force the Iranian nation to surrender. “But the nation’s steadfastness and resistance have proven this attitude and course of action to be wrong,” he added.
Rouhani’s remarks came a day after European powers vowed to keep the deal alive without the US by trying to keep Iran’s oil and investment flowing, Reuters reported.
British, French and German foreign ministers, along with the EU’s top diplomat, discussed the next steps with their Iranian counterpart, a week after US president abandoned the pact he branded “the worst deal ever” and reimposed US sanctions on Iran.
“We all agreed that we have a relative in intensive care and we all want to get him or her out of intensive care as quickly as possible,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters after the 90-minute meeting.
She said all sides had agreed to find practical solutions over the coming weeks. Those included continuing to sell Iran’s oil and gas products, maintaining effective banking transactions and protecting European investments in Iran.
“I cannot talk about legal or economic guarantees but I can talk about serious, determined, immediate work from the European side,” Mogherini said.
“We simply committed to fully comply with all the commitments taken there, which means for the Iranian side the nuclear-related commitments, and from our side and from the side of the rest of the international community, in particular the commitments related to the economic benefits the Iranian people need to see as an outcome of their own implementation of the Iran deal” she said.
“So, we are not talking about annexes or modifications of the agreement at all; we are talking about setting up concrete measures, concrete practical solutions to address these issues, which could take different forms depending on the different issues covered - but something very concrete, very practical and hopefully very operational and very quickly”.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the meeting had been a good start, but he wanted to see guarantees materialize. “We are on the right track ... a lot will depend on what we can do in next few weeks,” he said.
The US Treasury announced on Tuesday sanctions on Iran’s central bank governor, three other individuals and an Iraq-based bank, just minutes before the Brussels meeting was due to begin.
Zarif said the latest US decision was “illegal”.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said the new US sanctions were an attempt to derail efforts to save the deal.
“With such destructive measures, the American government is trying to influence the will and decision of the remaining signatories of the JCPOA (nuclear agreement),” Qassemi was quoted as saying by Fars News Agency.
Merkel defends deal
On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed back against Washington’s rejection of the nuclear deal. She reasserted a defense of the deal in remarks to lawmakers in the Bundestag lower house of parliament.
Canceling the nuclear agreement would be wrong, Merkel said, adding that the US withdrawal was among several pieces of "troubling news" that had occurred recently.
“The question is whether you can talk better if you terminate an agreement or if you stay in it ... we say you can talk better if you remain in it,” she said.
“This agreement is everything other than ideal, but Iran is, according to all the knowledge of the international nuclear authorities, sticking to the commitments of the agreement.”
EU’s blocking statute
EU Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said the bloc is prepared to institute a so-called blocking statute to protect European companies if the Trump administration re-imposes sanctions, Bloomberg reported.
The European Commission, the EU executive, on Wednesday discussed possible ways to preserve the accord.
The commission “discussed concrete, practical solutions to make sure the EU can continue to live up to its commitments under the deal and protect our economic operations,” Avramopoulos said. “We did discuss the possibility of applying our blocking statute. We are ready to do so if needed,” he said.
“We are exploring options to protect the economic operators from the extra-territorial effects of reimposed sanctions,” Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for Mogherini, told reporters earlier on Tuesday. “We will work with all the partners to address possible negative impacts on economic operators of any reimposition of sanctions by the US”
EU Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete is due to visit Tehran on May 19-20 to discuss energy cooperation between Iran and the EU, Kocijancic said.
Also on Wednesday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that all efforts must be made to keep the nuclear agreement alive despite the US pullout because "to end the deal would gravely threaten the peace and security in this tumultuous region."
Juncker was heading for Sofia, Bulgaria, for a summit with the 28 European Union leaders, hoping to forge a common stance on the agreement and the threat of US sanctions which could hurt EU companies.
Juncker said that "I want us to agree on a common stance on our relations with the United States and its relations with Iran," hoping to stave off a negative impact of any possible US sanctions.
He said that "our means are there and we will use them, but don't fool ourselves our means are limited."
Donald Tusk, the European Union's top official, launched a stinging attack ay on Trump, slamming his "capricious assertiveness" and saying the US leader acted more like an enemy than a friend.
"Looking at the latest decisions of President Trump, someone could even think with friends like that who needs enemies," Tusk told reporters.
"But frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful to President Trump, because thanks to him we have got rid of all illusions. He has made us realize that if you need a helping hand you will find one at the end of your arm," the European Council president added.