Iranian President Hassan Rouhani fired back at President Trump on Tuesday, saying his country would “respond decisively” if the United States violated the nuclear agreement signed during the Obama administration.
Rouhani's comments came a day after Trump’s speech to the United National General Assembly, in which he castigated the Iranian government for masking “a corrupt dictatorship behind false guise of a democracy.” Rouhani told the UNGA he wouldn't “threaten anyone” and would “not tolerate threats from anyone.”
"I declare before you that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not be the first country to violate the agreement; but it will respond decisively and resolutely to its violation by any party," Rouhani said. "It will be a great pity if this agreement were to be destroyed by 'rogue' newcomers to the world of politics: the world will have lost a great opportunity."
The Islamic Republic's leader took multiple rhetorical swipes at Trump, who has vowed on several occasions to pull out of the Iran deal -- but has so far held off from doing do.
"The ignorant, absurd and hateful rhetoric, filled with ridiculously baseless allegations, that was uttered before this august body yesterday, was not only unfit to be heard at the United Nations – which was established to promote peace and respect between nations – but indeed contradicted the demands of our nations from this world body to bring governments together to combat war and terror," Rouhani said.
The president also warned the U.S. risks its credibility if it withdraws from the nuke deal.
“By violating its international commitments, the new U.S. administration only destroys its own credibility for future negotiations,” the Iranian leader said, perhaps referencing diplomatic efforts to tame North Korea's own nuclear ambitions.
In his Tuesday speech, Trump issued a scalding takedown of the Iranian leaders, calling Rouhani’s government a “murderous regime” that shouldn’t be allowed to have missiles.
"We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles," Trump said.
The president’s critique added weight for those who believe the U.S. will walk away from the nuclear deal created under former President Barack Obama. Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia are also part of the pact. On Wednesday, Trump said he has “decided” whether the U.S. will stay in the nuclear deal, but he did not reveal his final answer, Reuters reported.
Under U.S. law, the president must certify to Congress every 90 days whether Iran is adhering to the agreement. If the president doesn't certify compliance, Congress has 60 days to decide whether to re-impose sanctions lifted under the agreement.
The next certification deadline is Oct. 15, and several officials and people close to the matter have described Trump as determined to "decertify" Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal at that point.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.