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Iran Slams U.S. 'Conspiracy,' Pledges to Bolster Military During Anniversary Celebration of 1979 Revolution

During the 40th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, President Hassan Rohani criticized the U.S. “conspiracy” against the nation and pledged to bolster its military capabilities, including its ballistic missile program.

He made the comments as President Donald Trump worked to destroy the Iran nuclear deal, which was signed under former President Barack Obama in 2015, and disputed the claims of U.S. intelligence agents that Tehran had complied with the deal. Trump has said that Iran remains dangerous because it is testing ballistic missiles. Reports suggest that Iran has conducted at least two ballistic missile tests over the past month, but that they were unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, U.S. allies in the European Union, together with Russia and China, argued that the nuclear deal should remain in place in order to keep Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon. The agreement puts significant curbs on Iran’s nuclear development program in exchange for international sanctions relief. The Trump administration has reimposed sanctions on Iran, but U.S. allies in Europe have been working to create certain measures, including a special economic vehicle, that will facilitate trade with Iran, in order to save the deal in the future.

“Despite significant efforts to rally other nations behind their position, the American government largely remains isolated on Iran,” Brett Bruen, former diplomat and director of global engagement at the White House under President Obama, told Newsweek.

gettyimages-1097875720-594x594 A rally marks the 40th anniversary of Iran's Islamic Revolution held at Azadi Square in Tehran, Iran on February 11, 2019. Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

“Yes, European companies are pulling out, but their governments are actively developing workarounds. Trump needs to propose a new path forward, extend an olive branch to Tehran, [and] allow them to make a few minor concessions. Claim victory and then the world can get back to collectively enforcing the most robust nuclear nonproliferation deal,” Bruen added.

President Rouhani supported the Iran nuclear deal, and experts said that the U.S. decision to pull out of the agreement has damaged Rouhani’s reputation with Iranian hardliners who, like many hawks in the U.S. foreign policy community, argue that the deal should never have been implemented in the first place. Still, Iran’s political leadership has maintained its end of the deal for the time being, according to the World Wide Threat Assessment Report issued by the office of the Director of National Intelligence on January 29.

“We continue to assess that Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device,” the report reads. “However, Iranian officials have publicly threatened to reverse some of Iran’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action commitments—and resume nuclear activities that the JCPOA limits—if Iran does not gain the tangible trade and investment benefits it expected from the deal.”

In February 1979, followers of the Iranian cleric Ruhollah Khomeini ousted the U.S.-backed authoritarian monarch Shah Reza Pahlavi. This “Islamic revolution” took place a little more than two decades after the U.S. and the U.K ousted Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh because he planned to nationalize the country’s petroleum industry. The U.S. relationship with Iran has been tense ever since the clerics took over the country in 1979. The Iranian regime has also jailed tens of thousands of its political opponents.

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