Trump Speech on Iran: Tehran Reacts

October 16, 2017

Iranian officials have reacted angrily to President Trump’s speech on the nuclear deal. The following are excerpted remarks by top leaders.

President Hassan Rouhani

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

Hello and good night to the great, understanding Iranian nation. I would like to inform the great people of Iran, after the words of the current president of the United States was heard, that firstly, in the words of Mr Trump on Iran's policy, there was nothing except insults and a pile of false accusations against the Iranian nation.

I invite the US president to read more about history, geography, international commitments, politeness and ethics, and international conventions.

Apparently, he does not know that the US government set up a coup sixty-some years ago, and it was a power that overthrew the rule of law by making money and leveraging its mercenaries.

Apparently, he has forgotten that during the integrated campaign of the Iranian people against the dictatorship to gain freedom, independence and the Islamic Republic in this land, it was the United States that greatly supported the dictator of the time in Iran.

Apparently, he has forgotten that after the glorious victory of the Islamic Revolution and at the very earliest days, the US plot in Iran was a coup which, of course, was repeated once again in 1980.

Apparently, he has forgotten that in the eight-year defence of the Iranian nation against aggression, the United States backed the aggressor; he has forgotten the bombings of the cities of Iran, as well as the chemical bombardment of Sardasht and Halabcheh, when it was supposed to issue a statement against the aggressors, it acted exactly the opposite way. We should read the history better and more precise, to find out what they have done to the Iranian people in the past sixty-some years few years; how they treated the Iranian people during the 40 years after the revolution.

We should also study geography to find out how a president has not yet learned the name of the famous, historical and global Gulf: the Persian Gulf, which, unfortunately, the American warships are constantly coming and going. He should have at least asked his military advisors how they write the name of this Gulf in their maps. Therefore, they need to study geography more.

He has not apparently read international law. How can a president alone cancel a treaty that is a multilateral and in one sense, international document, as it has been approved in the United Nations? He apparently does not know that this is not a bilateral document between Iran and the United States, on which he can act in any way he likes.

Politeness and ethics are also important; false, defamatory lies and accusations against the great nation of Iran [is not accepted]- a great nation that, as tonight’s speaker came to the Persian Gulf region, attended the great elections in historic numbers. Is a nation and government, which is respectful of democracy and its culture and faith and has consistently respected all its international treaties and obligations, fanatical? Or a government that has always been pursuing aggression and coups in this region and in the world, and has killed hundreds of thousands of people in different parts of the world from Vietnam to Latin America and in other countries with bombs? The country that claims to have stood against nuclear weapons, is the only country in the history of the world that has used nuclear weapons against a nation, not once, but twice. And today, it is threatening another country in the same region with nuclear weapons. Does a nuclear-armed country that has used nuclear weapons and also contributes to the development of nuclear weapons in countries that have close relations with it, such as the usurper Zionist Regime, want to take global actions against the proliferation of nuclear weapons?

In my opinion, once again it became clear to our people that the US government is a government that continues to its previous policies against the people of the region, against the Iranian people and against the oppressed peoples. The Iranian nation is not a nation that surrenders to a dictator by false statements and hate speech and the great nation of Iran has never surrendered to any power.

The Iranian nation will not give up and yield to any power. There were many countries that supported Saddam and failed to break our nation. There were many countries that joined the sanctions against Iran and it was proved to them that they could not make the Iranian people surrender. Today, it became clearer for the Iranian nation that we should be together more than ever before.

The great people of Iran saw that for the first time, the United States took a stand against a multilateral international commitment, and immediately, major countries of the world and the European Union took a stand against the United States. The US today is lonelier than ever on the JCPOA and its conspiracies against the Iranian nation.

We explicitly state that we stand in the region against terrorism and we will continue to do so. The same terrorists that this man, in his last year's presidential campaign, declared that the founder of ISIS was the US government itself.

Yes, the Revolutionary Guards, the Iranian people, the Iraqi people, the Syrian people, the people of Yemen, and the peoples of the region are standing up to the terrorist groups made by the United States – as Trump himself confessed- and they will not relinquish the fight until they are destroyed.

The Revolutionary Guards is a powerful force, and the Iranian people have always stood alongside the Revolutionary Guards and they confronted and resisted during the imposed war against the groups that you themselves provoked against the Iranian people, and it stood against the aggressors during the imposed war era, and today it has responded positively to the call of the oppressed people in the region and will continue to do so.

Is the Revolutionary Guards corrupt, or the government and armed forces that have always intervened in this region against the independence of nations? Is the Iranian government a dictator, a government whose elections are all governed by people's vote, or governments that are backed by the United States and are still running their own countries by tribal ways, and have not once seen elections in their own countries? You are the supporter of the regime that oppressed the people of Palestine and Lebanon and other countries in the region, but you are using impolite words about a force that fights terrorism in the region and never aggresses any country.

Have you forgotten that you attacked the innocent passengers of an airliner in the Persian Gulf and then gave the perpetrators of this incident medals? And have you forgotten that it was you who made wars in this region and have you forgotten what you did to the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other countries?

Are you worried about Iranian missiles? How come you do not protest against those weapons you give to the aggressors every day and they target the innocent people of Yemen with your own planes and bombs? You acted against Iranian oil platforms and you have always conducted acts of aggression in the region. Our weapons and missiles are for our defence. We have always been determined to defend our country and we became more determined today. We have always tried to make the weapons that we needed, and we will continue to do more efforts later on. Our weapons are for defence, and we will continue to defend and strengthen our defences.

And our last word about the JCPOA as a multilateral and international treaty, in a sense, is that as long as our rights are guaranteed, and as long as our interests require and, as long as we enjoy its benefits, we will respect the JCPOA within the framework of the interests of our nation.

We cooperated with the International Atomic Energy Agency and within the framework of international treaties and the JCPOA and we will continue to do so, but if one day our interests are not guaranteed and the other parties want to violate their commitments, they must know that Iran will not hesitate a second and will respond to them.

What was heard today from US officials was nothing but the repetition of incorrect words, false accusations and insults that have been repeatedly said during the past 40 years. We were not surprised, since we are accustomed to these words of yours for 40 years. Our nation was not surprised, because it was expected of you, but you know that with your untrue words, you yourself made our nation more united. You cannot divide the people and the government, you are not able to divide the Iranian people and the great, popular Leader.

The basis of our revolution was based on the fact that religion is not separate from politics and the link between religion and politics is the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist and the Supreme Leader, and the Iranian people respect and will respect its leader in accordance with the law and the constitution. The commands of the Leader are the commandments for the Iranian nation and the nation is united. All factions, groups, parties, tribes and religions will stand against the enemies of the Iranian nation and against you.

Are you sad about the slogan of the Iranian nation? Abandon your hostile policy. The people of Iran respect the American people, but they do not accept your aggressive policies. The slogan of the Iranian people is not against the country and people of the United States, but against the false and aggressive policies of the government United States. It is up to you to correct your policies and it is up to you to learn the right way of respecting nations.

If you do so, then the people of Iran will know well how to behave with you at that time.

Our nation, as always, stands against the conspirators. Their main goal is to keep us from economic growth, the goal of the US is to shy the world away from Iran and the JCPOA, and ultimately, to prevent investment and economic growth and economic prosperity. Despite the words of Trump and despite the ominous goals of American politicians, our nation will continue to work harder for economic growth, and will make the commands the Leader of Resistive Economy realised and operational.

Peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah and His blessings.

Oct. 13, 2017, in a televised address


Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif



FOREIGN MINISTER ZARIF: This is not a bilateral treaty between Iran and the United States. So whatever domestic politicking he wants to do, that's his business. You know, the United States is a permanent member of the Security Council. And if it's not going to uphold a resolution, that not only it voted for but it sponsored, then the credibility of the institution that the United States considers to be very important would be at stake.

Nobody else will trust any U.S. administration to engage in any long-term negotiation because the length of any commitment, the duration of any commitment from now on with any U.S. administration would be the reminder of the term of that president.

ELIZABETH PALMER: Let us say that Donald Trump eventually does pull the U.S. out of the agreement unilaterally. Will you stay in with the Europeans, Russia, and China and make it work with them alone?

ZARIF: If one party withdraws from deal, particularly the United States, and starts in fact violating the most important elements of the deal, then Iran will decide whether--

PALMER: So, you're not going to commit now to staying in if U.S. pulls out?

ZARIF: We have committed ourselves not to be the first party to withdraw from this deal.

PALMER: But that's it?

ZARIF: Provided that our economic dividends that have been enshrined in this deal are respected and Iran continues to receive those dividends. Once Iran does not receive those dividends, then it would be a totally different situation.

PALMER: Secretary Rex Tillerson called around late in the day yesterday to give various allies and world leaders a heads up about what was to come. Did he call you?



ZARIF: I didn't expect him to.

PALMER: You didn't expect him to.


PALMER: Not even as a courtesy?

ZARIF: Well, there's not much courtesy left in the way the United States treats the rest of the world.

PALMER: You are a partner with United States and other countries in this nuclear deal now that implies a huge amount of diplomatic engagement. Why doesn't that give you the privilege to talk to the secretary of state directly?

ZARIF: Well, I think that is a decision the United States has made.

PALMER: You did it with John Kerry.

ZARIF: We certainly did, and it produced a lot of results. It produced a lot of positive results. It averted some rather nasty scenarios. But this administration has decided to play in a totally different manner. And I can assure you that Iranian dignity and pride will not allow us to engage when mutual respect and equal footing are not respected by one party.

—Oct. 15, 2017, on CBS News – Face the Nation


Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei


"We won't accept Europeans singing along to the American's coercive words."

 —Oct. 18, 2017, in an address to university students and Olympiad winners


Government Statement

Since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iranian foreign policy has been developed and implemented based on principles of international law and international rules and conventions; respect for sovereign equality of all states and non-interference in internal affairs of others have formed the cornerstone of relations with other countries. After decades of dictatorship, dependence on foreign powers - especially the United States - and constant interference of those powers in Iran's internal affairs, the Iranian people, with their newly-established democratic government, had hoped to be able to finally build ties with neighbors based on equality and fraternity, free from political, economic and military rivalries; to form a peace-seeking nation that sought to replace enmity and bloodshed with friendship and cooperation. By contrast, the United States and its allies in the Persian Gulf region have persistently refused to accept realities of Iran and the region, and have vainly attempted to thwart the Iranian peoples’ quest for democracy and self-determination.

From the very first days of the Islamic revolution, the United States adopted a hostile, interventionist and destabilizing approach towards Iran's newly-established government -- with the aim of overthrowing it. The United States’ bleak record -- staging several coup attempts, harboring terrorists, openly supporting Saddam Hussein during the imposed war against Iran -- even his use of chemical weapons against Iranians, aiding secessionist plots, downing an Iranian civil airliner, and hundreds of other conspiracies against the Islamic Republic of Iran and its people — is undeniable. Even before the Islamic Revolution, the United States sponsored a coup against the democratically-elected government of Iran in 1953, thereby showing its constant historic enmity with democracy and its support for dictators.

Terrorist groups -- that have found safe haven in and plotted against the Iranian people from the United States over the past 38 years-- murdered 17000 Iranians in the first few years following the Islamic Revolution. The Islamic Republic of Iran, while successfully establishing the highest standards of stability and security at home, has provided its advisory services to the people and security forces of Iraq and Syria, playing an indispensable role in combating terrorism, thwarting the Takfiri campaign to take over Damascus, Baghdad and Erbil, and helping uproot these groups from Iraq and Syria. The constructive role of our armed forces in combating terrorist groups — which the current U.S. president himself cited during his campaign as having been created by the U.S.— has been instrumental in eradicating this scourge. It is unfortunate that, instead of discarding terrorism as a tool and joining Iran's genuine counter-terrorism efforts, the United States continues to misportray these constructive efforts as destabilizing.

The role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the frontlines of combating terrorism in the region is irrefutable. The Corps, a branch of Iran’s armed forces, has an impeccable track record of containing Takfiri terrorism, restoring gradual tranquility for the people of the region as well as safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria. The Revolutionary Guards are regarded as national heroes for their role in the defense of Iranian territory against Saddam Hussein’ army. Any action by the U.S. administration or Congress against the IRGC will constitute a strategic mistake and will draw the indignation of the Iranian people and a strong and unified reciprocal reaction. The U.S. President will have to bear full responsibility for all consequences of his rogue behavior.

The United States has defined its interest in generating and aggravating regional disputes, and exacerbating conflict and insecurity to fuel an arms race and create bigger markets for its weapons. ...

Iran has identified its regional interests with good-neighborliness, and peace and stability in the highly sensitive Persian Gulf region. This is in clear contrast with the publicly stated position of the current president of the United States, who in his campaign, publicly considered the war between Iran and Iraq as serving U.S. interests, and more recently openly made his visit to the region contingent upon the sale of hundreds of billions of 'beautiful weapons'—tools of destruction that are currently being used against defenseless children and the elderly in Yemen.

The crises in our region, including in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain, are rooted in occupation, illegal military interventions, and hegemonic designs of the United States in the region. In contrast, the Islamic Republic of Iran firmly believes that its national security interests can only be secured through dialogue, confidence building and multilateral cooperation within the region, and we are determined to actively contribute to the promotion of effective regional cooperation for peace and security. Iranian proposals for political settlements to end the horrifying wars in Yemen and Syria have been welcomed by the international community, and Iran has played a constructive role in every international initiative aimed at ending regional conflicts. Iran has also cooperated with Russia and Turkey effectively to de-escalate the violence in Syria, and stands ready to contribute actively to joint efforts with the United Nations Secretary General and other responsible countries - including other permanent members of the Security Council - and the European Union, to put an end to conflicts and violence.

The hostile policies of the United States and its regional allies, especially the Zionist regime, as well as the transfer of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of arms into the region that have turned the region into a tinderbox require the Islamic Republic of Iran not to be complacent about the country's defense needs. During the war imposed on us by Saddam Hussein's regime, not only did the United States and its regional allies provide military, intelligence, logistical, economic and political assistance to Saddam, and offer their support and maintained their silence during his chemical weapons attacks campaign, they also did everything in their power to interdict the acquisition of even the most basic defensive capabilities by Iran. Through that experience we learned that in order to protect our people, safeguard our independence and security and defend our national honor, we must rely on indigenous capacities and not hesitate in developing the capability to meet the country's legitimate defense needs. It is in this framework that Iran's missile program has a purely defensive and deterrent character. Our missiles are strictly designed to carry conventional warheads and their range and precision are proportionate to our security environment and threat perception. It will continue with full force in accordance with our national defense program and is not, nor will it ever be, negotiable. When U.S. allies in the region, whose combined population is far less than Iran, each spend exponentially higher sums on their military than Iran, why shouldn't Iran -- that has attacked no one in almost 300 years but has been the victim of aggression supported by the U.S. and its regional partners -- acquire necessary tools of deterrence in the face the constant threats by aggressors?

The antagonistic policies of the United States against Iran have also extended to the realm of advanced science and technology in past few decades. The United States has imposed restrictions that bar scientific and technological exchanges while also imposing sanctions in these fields. These actions serve no purpose but trying to hold back our technological development and prolong dependence on advanced powers. The efforts of our young scientists to acquire the knowledge for the development of a peaceful nuclear program has from its outset been met with propaganda, sanctions, cyber attacks and even the assassination of our scientists. Iran has repeatedly stated that it wishes to utilize nuclear energy peacefully, and that we view weapons of mass destruction— including nuclear weapons— as disruptive to peace and security, and as such they will never have a place in our military doctrine. The International Atomic Energy Agency's report and conclusion in 2015, rejecting accusations of Possible Military Dimensions (PMD), acknowledged the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities.

Iran has demonstrated its good will by entering into and its conclusion of nuclear negotiations with the P5+1 to resolve a fabricated crisis, and we have proven our fulfilment of our undertakings by the good-faith implementation of our commitments in accordance with the JCPOA. In contrast, the United States' fulfilment of its commitments has been lackluster and deficient from the very beginning, and in several cases—especially during the current administration—it has violated both the spirit and the letter of the JCPOA. The Islamic Republic of Iran has officially registered with the Joint Commission those violations, including failures in lifting of sanctions and policies preventing the establishment of an atmosphere necessary for normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran. The claim by the president of United States regarding Iran's non-compliance has no international relevance or credibility, since the IAEA, as the sole authority to conduct such monitoring and verification, has repeatedly confirmed Iran's full compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA. This proves once again that the United States is not a reliable negotiating partner.

The JCPOA is a valid international instrument and an outstanding achievement in contemporary diplomacy. It cannot be renegotiated or altered. The nuclear deal is not a bilateral agreement that can be annulled by unilateral action, but a deal endorsed by the international community and incorporated as a part of Security Council Resolution 2231. Other JCPOA participants, as well as the rest of the international community, should not allow the president of the United States to continue to mock and undermine the deal. The Islamic Republic of Iran will not be the first to withdraw from the deal, but if its rights and interests in the deal are not respected, it will stop implementing all its commitments and will resume its peaceful nuclear program without any restrictions.

Today, the United States is more isolated globally than ever before and the veracity of Iran’s policies and positions have become evident to the international community. The world has witnessed that over the past several weeks, most countries have been unified in supporting the JCPOA and the Islamic republic and rejecting U.S. policies. The international community views Iran as a responsible actor endeavoring to promote peace and will not give any credence to rogue actors further isolating themselves every day by withdrawing from one or another international agreement and organization.

The difference between Iranian and U.S. policies on many international and regional issues are clear and undeniable. Because of their miscalculations, various U.S. administrations have aggravated these differences into open hostility against the people of Iran. In spite of all these animosities, embodied mostly in illegal threats and sanctions, the people of Iran have resiliently persisted in their quest for justice and independence. Iran has reached the pinnacles of influence and strength through relying on its own people and its indigenous capabilities, benefitting from the prudent and wise guidance of Ayatollah Khamenei, who has personified the dignity and integrity of the Iranian people, following the footsteps of the late Imam Khomeini. The new U.S. rulers must not forget the hard lessons of the past four decades; they should not forget that previous administrations -- who by uttering similar fallacies put themselves in open rivalry with the Iranian people – were forced to retreat from such impruent utterances.

—Oct. 13, 2017, in a statement


Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani

“Today is has become known to the public opinion of the world that Trump is a liar.”

“While the US government continuously is acting against the Iranian nation with imposing new sanctions and creating economic difficulties, against Iraqis and Syrians with growing terrorism, against Yemeni people with bombarding them, and against the people of Bahrain with supporting dictators, they label Iran as a supporter of terrorism without providing any evidence.”

“When Trump calls Iran ‘The Terrorist Nation,’ or distorts the 2,500 years of history the ‘Persian Gulf’ has, by calling it the ‘Arabian Gulf,’ people realize that they are being targeted.”

“It has always been our plan to develop our ties and relations with Europe within our values and beliefs. However, the truth is that Europe has not done the same since the nuclear deal was signed.”

“It has mainly paid lip service, with a few exceptions. It is now stating that it is against the elimination of the nuclear deal by the US”

—Oct. 18, 2017, in an interview with Euronews via Mehr News Agency 


Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani

“I agree that since Trump’s ascendance to office, every day we have a new issue in the world and it’s because of his breakfast tweets and the kind of remarks he makes.”
“I think that he is suffering from a little narcissism and lack of experience in the field of politics.”
“I said, also at the IPU (Inter-Parliamentary Union) meeting, that the Trump’s speech was no serious thing.”
“[I]t is because the JCPOA is not a bilateral agreement but it was a deal whose brokering took 30 months and entailed hard negotiations.”
“After the recent remarks of Trump, almost all countries have said they do not agree with US president and are still committed to the JCPOA,”
— Oct. 17, 2017, speaking to Russian media while on a visit to St. Petersburg

“We are a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and have accepted certain undertakings in the nuclear deal and we have paid a high price in the nuclear deal. If Trump's incorrect behavior creates a situation in which we don’t use the benefits of the nuclear deal and only pay the price, we will certainly review this issue.”

—Oct. 16, 2017, in a meeting with Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Lassina Zerbo in Russia.


Ali Akbar Velayati, senior advisor to the Supreme Leader

“There will be no revision of the JCPOA agreement”
“[T]here will be no second edition of negotiations for the JCPOA and we won’t even recite it for the Americans.”
“The talk are over and now it is the time they comply with the terms of the agreement.”
— Oct. 17, 2017, speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony to unveil a new book on Ayatollah Khamenei


Chairman of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Alaeddin Boroujerdi


“The US president showed by his remarks again that the US government is not trustworthy and the US behavior towards the nuclear deal persuades views of countries like North Korea.”

—Oct. 16, 2017, in a meeting with his Turkish counterpart


“If the U.S. Congress decides to violate and abrogates the nuclear deal and its undertakings, the Islamic Republic of Iran will have no motivation to continue the path [of the deal].”

—Oct. 16, 2017, in a meeting with the French Special Envoy to Syria Franck Gellet


The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)

“The regional influence and might and development of the Islamic Republic's missile power which was stablished when the country was fully under sanctions will continue and advance without a stop and more rapidly.”

The IRGC "will continue its relentless fight against the hegemonic system and Zionism more resolutely and powerfully than before and it will not hesitate a moment in defending the Islamic Revolution and the country's national interests.”
—Oct. 19, 2017, in a statement


Spokesman for joint armed forces staff, Gen. Masoud Jazayeri

“We tell the corrupt and evil government of the U.S. that we will continue promoting defensive power of the country, more determined and with more motive than before. We do not spare a while for defending suppressed people in any point of the world.”
—Oct. 13, 2017, according to the Revolutionary Guards’ website and news agencies


Member of Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Morteza Saffari Natanzi

“What U.S. President Trump’s remarks suggest is that the JCPOA is an international treaty reliant upon United Nations Security Council resolution, the signatories including the U.S. are obliged and forced to shoulder some commitments,”
“The whole totality of the US establishment is committed to this agreement according to the international regulations and law, and that is why he has made the congress to decide over the agreement.”
“The Americans staged two wars in our region in the last 15 years and contrary to their expectations Iran’s influence on the region has grown.”
“and that’s why now they have turned the sharp edge of the blade toward Iran to put into practice an escape forward policy.”
“I think the core of issue, for all these hypes and propaganda, is that the Americans have reaped nothing more than defeat in the region and they are resorting to the JCPOA to create a new hype,”
“in my opinion we should keep our advantage in the region and ignore Trump’s blusters.”
“Since the fall of the former USSR, US has undertaken a unilateral path and does whatever they wish.”
“Now, the JCPOA has laid restraint upon the Americans to act like other signatories of the agreement and this is what makes them angry and discontent with the deal.”
— Oct. 17, 2017, reported by Mehr News Agency