Rouhani: Zionists cause U.S. to violate deal

Iranian President blames “Zionist pressure groups” for a U.S. Supreme Court ruling which could undermine the Iran nuclear deal.

Ben Ariel,

Hassan Rouhani at the UN General Assembly
Hassan Rouhani at the UN General Assembly

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday blamed “Zionist pressure groups” for a U.S. Supreme Court ruling he said could undermine the Iran nuclear deal, JTA reported.

“The lack of compliance of the United States with the JCPOA in the last several months represents a flawed approach,” Rouhani said at the UN General Assembly, using the acronym for the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action, the formal name for the nuclear deal his country signed with world powers last year.

“The latest case in point is the United States Supreme Court ruling to seize billions of dollars of the Iranian regime’s assets,” he added. “This demonstrated that the Zionist pressure groups could go as far as having the U.S. Congress pass offensive legislation forcing the highest judicial institution to uphold peremptory violations of international law.”

In April, the high court upheld a 2012 law that allows U.S. victims of Iran-backed terrorism to claim funds from the $2 billion in Bank Markazi’s assets held in the United States. Bank Markazi is Iran’s central bank.

Litigants include families of Marines killed in the 1983 Hezbollah attack on barracks in Beirut, and the Rubin family, whose family member was injured in a 1997 double suicide bombing on Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem.

Rouhani said such rulings should be seen as a “wrongful international act” in violation of the deal.

The deal does not include the unfreezing of U.S.-held assets, although the Obama administration, in what was seen as a good-will gesture, unfroze $400 million in separate Iranian assets and delivered the money to Iran.

Rouhani last month accused Israel, as well as the U.S. Congress and other regional countries of thwarting the implementation of the nuclear deal.

The Anti-Defamation League slammed what it said was Rouhani’s anti-Semitic language at his UN speech.

“President Rouhani’s UN address demonstrates clearly that there is no evidence of Iranian moderation,” Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL’s CEO, said in a statement quoted by JTA. “His espousing of noxious anti-Semitic conspiracy theories alleging ‘Zionist’ control of Congress must be condemned by the international community.”

Rouhani was otherwise bullish on the deal, saying Iran’s economy had improved – an implicit rebuke to hard-liners in his country who said the deal was not worth it.

He otherwise referred to Israel only once, saying, “The oppressed Palestinians are still afflicted by a web of apartheid and oppressive polices set by the Zionist regime.”

Rouhani and other senior Iranian officials continuously make anti-Israel statements. One such example came in April, when Rouhani vowed to defend Muslim countries against terrorism and Israel.

One of the main perpetrators of anti-Israel statements is Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has referred to Israel as a “cancerous tumor” and also predicted several months ago that the Jewish state will not exist in 25 years.