Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned US President Donald Trump that he risks political suicide if he scraps the nuclear deal with Tehran.
At his swearing-in ceremony, Mr Rouhani said Iran would continue to abide by the terms of the deal as long as the other major powers involved do the same.
“I can say that Iran will not be the first to violate the JCPOA (nuclear deal); however, we will not sit and watch if the US doesn’t comply. We are not addressing the ‘newcomers’ in the world of politics, but we are informing the veterans that we can make the nuclear deal a pattern for international relations and laws.”
A host of foreign dignitaries including senior European figures attended the ceremony which comes after the US Senate voted to impose new sanctions on Iran, targeting its missile programme, as well as human rights issues.
Iran has said the sanctions break the terms of the nuclear deal and has vowed a “proportional” reaction.
Rouhani said the presence of such figures as European foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini showed that Europe was determined to expand ties with Tehran despite US pressures.
“The US’s repeated violations of its commitments and the new sanctions it imposed on Iran have left a negative impact on Iran’s public opinion, and can hamper implementation of the nuclear deal,” Rouhani was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency in advance of the ceremony.
The deal he championed with the United States and five other major powers in 2015 led to the lifting of most sanctions against Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.
Rouhani has intensified efforts to protect the deal – the biggest achievement of his first term – against Washington’s return to an aggressive Iran policy since US President Donald Trump took office.
Other global figures attending included Iraqi President Fuad Masum and the president of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani.
Rouhani’s powers are limited by those of Iran’s unelected Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who outranks him.