President Hassan Rouhani rejected outright any changes to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, as discussed by President Donald Trump and President Emmanuel Macron during their Washington summit on April 24. “If the JCPOA was bad and dangerous, why did you [the United States] sign it? You are a businessman and don't know anything about law,” he said, referring to Trump. The United States will “pay the highest political and moral price at the international level” if it withdraws from or violates the nuclear deal, he warned on April 25, during one of three speeches in Tabriz.
The U.S. and French leaders have been discussing language to supplement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that would address its most controversial aspects, including so-called “sunset clauses,” as well as issues outside the deal, such as Iran’s missile development and regional intervention. Trump has demanded fixes to the JCPOA under threat of withdrawing from it; he is due to make a decision on May 12. At a joint press conference, Macron described a supplemental agreement as having “four pillars.” The three major European powers have been quietly negotiating with the United States since January. The potential agreement would not involve China and Russia, the other signatories. It would basically be a joint policy statement about several issues—not just the nuclear accord—among the four Western powers. But it would not change any language in the deal itself. "We are not aiming to renegotiate the JCPOA or reopen it or change its terms," Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Ford said on the sidelines of a nuclear non-proliferation conference in Geneva. "We are seeking a supplemental agreement that would in some fashion layer upon it a series of additional rules — restrictions, terms, parameters, whatever you want to call it — that help answer these challenges more effectively."
Iran charges that it has fully complied with its obligations under the deal—as verified repeatedly by the International Atomic Energy Agency—while the United States has impeded foreign investment in Iran, its main benefit for curtailing a controversial nuclear program. "We want to have constructive interaction with the world, but if they [other countries] don't, what are we to do?" Rouhani said in a separate speech, on April 24. "Today, countries like the United States are standing against us and they are attempting to have an impact on our economic and social conditions, an instance of which is the game the President of this country has started against Iran in recent months; the tone of which has changed today." The following are excerpted remarks by Rouhani in the three speeches in Tabriz.
"With the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), we eliminated the accusations against the Iranian nation [about the nuclear program]. If the JCPOA was bad and dangerous, why did you [the United States] sign it? You are a businessman and don't know anything about law. Before deciding on the future of the JCPOA, say, did you live up to your commitments?"
"Those who have brought misery for the region are greedy for the wealth of the region. By belittling Arab countries, they tell them ‘if you don't pay money, we will leave the region.’ Leave! Our region will be safer with you gone. Did you bring security to the region by selling arms to Saudi Arabia and pouring bombs on the people of Yemen?"
"We proved it to the world that Iranophobia was a lie. The fact that you threaten banks and investors not to work with Iran is against what you pledged in the JCPOA. The White House must first settle its previous debts and then make a new decision. If the JCPOA was bad and dangerous, why did you sign it? You are a businessman and don't know anything about law."
"The current issue of today's world are politicians who don't consider the consequences and different aspects of their words."
—April 25, 2018, in a speech at the event "Tabriz 2018: The Capital of Islamic Tourism"
"We want to have constructive interaction with the world, but if they [other countries] don't, what are we to do?"
"Today, countries like the United States are standing against us and they are attempting to have an impact on our economic and social conditions, an instance of which is the game the President of this country has started against Iran in recent months; the tone of which has changed today."
"Today, if the U.S. stands against the nuclear deal, nobody blames Iran, because based on the IAEA's [International Atomic Energy Agency] reports, Iran has completely fulfilled its commitments."
"If the U.S. wants to exit the deal, the Iranian nation will be integrated and they also know that Iran has carried out its activities based on its commitments."
—April 24, 2018 in a speech in Tabriz
"A successful foreign policy means increasing enemies' expenses and if the United States violated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), they will pay the highest price and Iran will pay the lowest price."
"Someday the U.S. government may take decisions against us, which is not likely to be very important or have any effects, because the Iranian nation has stood against bigger plots in the past 40 years. It has been for months that debates revolve around the U.S. President's decision regarding the JCPOA and I clearly announce that we sign pacts based on national interests."
"If one day the JCPOA is cancelled, we have plans in response, but if one day the U.S. wants to violate the JCPOA it will pay the highest political and moral price at the international level.”
"Mr. Trump has been saying from the beginning that it will exit the JCPOA and this has been the worst agreement for the US, but he is signing it every time, announcing that next time it won't do it. The fact that it hasn't been able to do anything in this regard is because of the high price it will have for the U.S. Of course, anything may happen but without a doubt, the U.S. will pay the highest price.”
"The JCPOA split Europe's way from the U.S. and this is a victory for the Iranian nation.”
"Trump is a good milker of the wealth of the countries of the region by using the pretext of Iran being dangerous.”
"It is important that today, all countries of the world, except for the Zionist Regime and one or two small countries in the region emphasize that the JCPOA must stand and if the US exits it, it will make a grave mistake."
"For the government, the interests of 81 million Iranians have priority over small some-thousand- member groups. If we stay together, our country will not face a big problem in any circumstances."
—April 24, 2018, in a speech to developers and businesspeople in Tabriz