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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Rouhani warns US that scrapping Iran nuke deal will backfire

Iranian president in New York for UN meeting

French president Emmanuel Macron, left, greets Iranian president Hassan Rouhani at the Millenium Hotel in New York on September 18, 2017. Ludovic Marin / AFP
French president Emmanuel Macron, left, greets Iranian president Hassan Rouhani at the Millenium Hotel in New York on September 18, 2017. Ludovic Marin / AFP

Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani issued a warning to America yesterday that abandoning the 2015 nuclear agreement would backfire on the world’s superpower.

After arriving in New York for the United Nations General Assembly meeting, Mr Rouhani said there would be a cost if the US tried to reimpose its sanctions regime.

"Exiting such an agreement would carry a high cost for the United States of America, and I do not believe Americans would be willing to pay such a high cost for something that will be useless for them," he told CNN. “That will yield no results for the United States but at the same time it will generally decrease and cut away and chip away at international trust placed in the Unites States of America."

Sanctions relief for Iran was extended last week as part of the 2015 nuclear agreement despite Mr Trump describing it as "the worst deal ever". Mr Trump has threatened to use a regular review of Iranian compliance in October to find Tehran has not lived up to the agreement’s terms.

"You'll see what I'm going to be doing very shortly in October," Mr Trump said last week. "But I will say this, the Iran deal is one of the worst deals I've ever seen, certainly at a minimum the spirit of the deal is just atrociously kept.”

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Mr Rouhani, who won a second presidential term earlier this year, was a key architect of the 2015 nuclear agreement with the United States, the European Union and others.

The deal led to the lifting of most international sanctions against Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.

The agreement is expected to feature high on the agenda throughout the UNGA schedules, including last night’s meeting between Mr Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister and another critic of the deal.

Mr Netanyahu said last night that the Trump administration "wants to change" the Iran nuclear deal. He said he proposed a way to do it in his meeting with the president.