Rouhani: Protecting nuclear deal a 'top priority'

Iran's President says the top foreign policy priority is to “protect” the nuclear deal from being torn up by the United States.

Elad Benari ,

Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that the top foreign policy priority for his new government was to “protect” the nuclear deal from being torn up by the United States.

"The most important job of our foreign minister is first to stand behind the JCPOA, and not to allow the U.S. and other enemies to succeed," Rouhani was quoted by AFP as having told parliament, using the technical name for the 2015 deal that eased sanctions in exchange for curbs to Iran's nuclear program.

"Standing up for the JCPOA means standing up to Iran's enemies," he added.

His comments come amid tensions with the U.S. over the deal. President Donald Trump has been a vocal critic of the Iran nuclear deal, describing it as “the worst deal I’ve ever seen negotiated”.

While Trump's administration recently confirmed that Iran is adhering to the nuclear agreement it signed with world powers in 2015, Trump and other officials in the administration have stressed that the President still has reservations about the deal.

Most recently, Trump said that Iran was not "living up to the spirit" of the nuclear deal, and warned that “some very strong things” would take place if it fails to comply with the terms of the deal.

Rouhani, for his part, threatened last week that Iran would walk out on the nuclear deal if the United States continued to apply fresh sanctions.

The threat came after Trump signed a new package of sanctions into law, with sanctions targeting not only Iran, but North Korea and the Russian government as well.