Iran Calls on Nuclear Deal Nations to 'Stand up to America' After Trump Administration Demands Arms Embargo Extension

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called on signatories to the Iran nuclear deal to "stand up" against the U.S., after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo repeated his demand for an extended arms embargo on Tehran.

President Donald Trump's administration is pushing for an extension to the existing arms embargo on Iran, which is due to expire in October. The U.S. has warned that the embargo is needed to stop Tehran procuring and supplying weapons that are helping fuel conflicts across the Middle East.

Rouhani said that remaining signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—from which Trump withdrew the U.S. in 2018—should reject the U.S. demand and support Iran, which is now back under U.S. sanctions designed to throttle its exports and undermine the regime.

"Americans are already angry, upset, and wanting to take this issue to the Security Council," Rouhani said in a televised speech according to Reuters. "We want four permanent members of the Council to stand up to America," he added.

"Particularly, we expect Russia and China to resist this U.S. plot," Rouhani continued. "America will not succeed ... and we will increase our defense capabilities as we have been doing so even under sanctions."

Extending the embargo is part of Washington's "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran. The Trump administration has said it wants to negotiate a new nuclear deal with Tehran, but one that has stricter limits on its nuclear program—as well as restrictions on its ballistic missile research and regional influence.

President Barack Obama's 2015 agreement, Trump has argued, was too soft on Iran and was a bad deal for the U.S.

But the Iranian regime has consistently refused to renegotiate the terms of the JCPOA, calling on the other signatories—the U.K., Germany, France, the European Union, China and Russia—to save the deal.

Iran has ended compliance with the agreement piecemeal since Trump withdrew from the accord. Tehran has been expanding its enriched uranium stockpile and spooling up its production capabilities in violation of the deal. Iran then announced it would no longer respect any part of the JCPOA after the U.S. assassinated Major General Qasem Soleimani in January.

The Trump administration has attacked Iran for violating the deal, though Tehran has hit back at the U.S. for hypocrisy. This week, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said the U.S. can no longer invoke the deal to criticize Iran because Washington has already withdrawn from it.

The Trump administration has threatened to trigger the JCPOA "snapback" mechanism to re-impose all UN sanctions on Iran if the arms embargo is not extended. Regardless, Russia and China have already said they are not in favor of an extension, and according to Reuters are now building their case that the U.S. cannot legally trigger the snapback.

Hassan Rouhani, Iran, US, arms embargo, JCPOA
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech during the inaugural session of the new parliament following February elections, in Tehran, Iran on May 27, 2020. -/AFP via Getty Images/Getty