Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Tehran has managed to defeat Washington in their battle over the 2015 nuclear deal, as the world’s public opinion has tilted towards Iran and the US is unprecedentedly sidelined.
“Even if a poll is conducted inside the US, public opinion would be in our favour. This means the US government is really sidelined and we are already the victor,” Rouhani said in a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
The controversial US President Donald Trump pulled the country out of the deal last Tuesday, when he announced the US will snap back its anti-Iran sanctions suspended under the pact and will impose “the highest level” of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.
Iran has announced the deal could remain in place only if European parties to the pact give Tehran firm assurances that its interests will be served if they remain in the deal.
Rouhani said Iran made the right decision by giving parties to the deal another chance before withdrawing from the accord, as it could be blamed by the people and even other parties of the deal for the collapse of the deal if it had rushed into action.
Rouhani said the US government believed Iran will not drag its feet in walking out of the pact, preparing the ground for a return of international sanctions on Iran.
“According to reports by their intelligence apparatus, Iran should have walked out of the pact within hours after the US pullout. Their plans are now derailed,” he said.
The president said unlike the years before the nuclear deal, when Iran was under pressure over US accusations it was covertly developing nukes, now it is the US who is under pressure and should answer to the world.
“Through [spreading] Iranophobia and false propaganda, they had convinced the world that Iran is a threat. But now it is replaced with Trumpophobia and Iran is respected by all,” he said, adding that the world sees Iran as a peace-loving nation who respects rules.
The president said Iran would be pleased to get rid of a “disruptive and annoying” party to the deal, if its interests are protected by other parties.
On Tuesday, the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini reiterated the EU’s determination to keep the nuclear deal in place, and expressed the bloc’s regret over the US’ move.
“I cannot talk about legal or economic guarantees but I can talk about serious, determined, immediate work from the European side,” she said, speaking after a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his French, British and German counterparts in Brussels.
The Iranian foreign minister was in Brussels on the final leg of a whirlwind diplomatic tour, which had earlier taken him to Beijing and Moscow.