Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday ripped President Donald Trump's speech to the United Nations General Assembly a day earlier as "ignorant, absurd and hateful," charging that it would be a "great pity" if the 2015 nuclear deal his nation agreed to with the U.S. and other world powers "were to be destroyed by rogue newcomers" to politics.
In a scathing 23-minute speech to the chamber, Rouhani did not mention Trump by name, but referred to him on several occasions, citing his threats to tear up the nuclear pact.
"It will be a great pity if this agreement were to be destroyed by rogue newcomers to the world of politics," Rouhani said. "The world will have lost a great opportunity, but such unfortunate behavior will never impede Iran's course of progress."
He also took specific aim at Trump's controversial speech to the chamber on Tuesday.
"The ignorant, absurd and hateful rhetoric filled with ridiculously baseless allegations that was uttered before this august body was not only unfit to be heard at the United Nations," he said, "but indeed contradicted the demands of our nations from this world body to bring governments together to combat war and terror."
Trump had used his speech to the assembly to take on North Korea and Iran, dismissing the nuclear deal with Tehran, which lifted sanctions in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear program, as an "embarrassment" and "one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into."
Trump blasted the Iranian government as a "murderous regime" focused on the "pursuit of death and destruction."
In criticizing North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, Trump said, "Rocket man is on a suicide mission," and warned that the U.S. may be forced to "totally destroy" the rogue nation.
It was Trump's comments on Iran, however, that captured the attention of Rouhani, who had told NBC News Tuesday that if the U.S. backed out of the nuclear deal "no one will trust America again" and that his country could then resume work on expanding its nuclear capabilities. Trump, for his part, said earlier Wednesday that he'd made up his mind regarding whether he would end the deal, but wouldn't say how he'd decided.
During a photo op with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Trump was shouted a question about the deal. "I have decided," he responded.
But when asked whether the U.S. would remain in the deal, Trump replied only that, "I'll let you know, I'll let you know for sure."
Meanwhile, Trump spent much of Wednesday huddling privately with Middle Eastern leaders on the sidelines of the assembly.
First, Trump met Jordan's King Abdullah II, telling reporters before their session that "never has the relationship been better than it is right now."
Next, before his meeting with Abbas, Trump said he was "fighting very hard" for a peace deal between the Palestinians and Israelis.
"There's a small period of time, and we're going to see what we can do," Trump said. "But so many people have talked about it and it's never happened, but we are fighting very hard."