In what sounded like a last-ditch plea for the US to reconsider its abandonment of the JCPOA, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged the US during his speech before the United Nations General Assembly not to abandon its commitments to international institutions and asked it to return to the negotiating table.
Without using Trump's name, Rouhani warned of rulers who have "xenophobic tendencies resembling a Nazi disposition", and claimed that "those seeking dominance and hegemony are enemies of peace and perpetrators of war." He added that the US government "seems determined to render all international institutions ineffectual". Its decision to abandon the Security Council-sanctioned JCPOA while inviting Iran to engage in bilateral talks is one such example of this.
Rouhani continued, saying that while he's glad that the rest of the international community has stuck to the agreement, the US's decision to abandon the agreement is exemplary of a pattern propagated by the US to defy international norms when it doesn't suit the US's interests.
"According to this resolution, all countries and regional organizations were called upon to support the JCPOA and refrain from actions that undermine implementation of commitments. Based on 12 consecutive reports from the IAEA Iran has complied with its commitments. However, the US never remained faithful to its obligations, and accused Trump of making "flimsy excuses" in violation of its commitments."
He added that while Iran seeks nothing but peace, the US is an authoritarian regime that believes in "might makes right" over the rule of law. However, Iran believes that there is no better way but dialogue.
"The US understanding of international relations is authoritarian. Its understanding is might makes right..it's understanding of power, not of legal authority, is reflected in bullying, not in legal imposition. No state and nation can be brought to the negotiating table by force. And if so, what follows is an accumulation of the grapes of wrath to be reaped later by the oppressors.
Rouhani exhorted the US to drop its sanctions threats and "return to the negotiating table", adding that if the administration dislikes the Iran deal because of its association to Obama, that it could remake that legacy by returning to the table.
"We invite you to come back to the negotiating table you left. If you dislike the JCPOA because it is the legacy of your domestic political rivals then we invite you to come back to the Security Council resolution. Do not engage in imposing sanctions...sanctions and extremism are two sides of the same coin."
Here are some of the key headlines from Rouhani's 25-minute address (via Bloomberg):
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Watch Rouhani's speech below:
Rouhani also gave an interview to NBC's Lester Holt on Monday. Watch that below: