Politicians in the Iranian parliament were filmed burning an American flag and chanting “death to America” on Wednesday in the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — more commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal.
Trump announced his plan to withdraw from the 2015 agreement on Tuesday, calling it a “horrible one-sided deal that should never, ever have been made.”
Furious Iranian lawmakers also set fire to a piece of paper representing the nuclear deal, and vowed to increase spending on the country’s ballistic missile program.
“With a national consensus, we will give the U.S. and Zionists a response that they will regret,” said parliament speaker Ali Larijani according to the Mehr news agency.
According to Larijani, Iran could return to its nuclear program, but will hold off at first on withdrawing from the nuclear pact, the Times of Israel reported.
Larijani also called Trump an “egotistical and amateurish politician,” for exiting the deal. “Trump does not have the mental capacity to deal with issues,” he said according to Reuters.
“While U.S. flag-burning is common in Iran and harsh criticism of America has been a staple of Iranian parliamentary politics for years, it was the first time political observers could remember anything being burned inside the parliament itself,” reported Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
After Trump’s decision, Iranian leaders expressed hope that the European Union will work to preserve the deal.
“Iran hopes the European Union will pass laws to protect European firms from any potential U.S. sanctions. EU officials have suggested they’ll do what they can to salvage the agreement,” The New York Times reported.
“So if necessary, we can begin our industrial enrichment without any limitations,” said Iranian President Hassan Rohani. “Until implementation of this decision, we will wait for some weeks and will talk with our friends and allies and other signatories of the nuclear deal, who signed it and who will remain loyal to it. Everything depends on our national interests.”
Dozens of Iranians also set fire to a U.S. flag during a protest in front of the former U.S. embassy, calling for retaliation.
While the response from the international community was overwhelmingly negative, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel fully supports Trump’s “bold decision to reject the disastrous nuclear deal with the terrorist regime in Tehran.”
“Israel has opposed the nuclear deal from the start,” he said in a speech Tuesday.
“Because we said that rather than blocking Iran’s path to a bomb, the deal actually paves Iran’s path to an entire arsenal of nuclear bombs, and this within a few years time.”
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