Rouhani Says Renegotiating Iran Nuclear Deal ‘Out of Question’

  • Trump opposition to pact clouds Rouhani’s expected candidacy
  • Nuclear deal has so far failed to lift living standards

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani gives a press conference in Tehran on Jan. 17, to mark the first anniversary of the implementation of a historic nuclear deal.

Photographer: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images

Iran will not revisit its nuclear deal with world powers, and it can’t be easily undone by Donald Trump, President Hassan Rouhani said in marking the first anniversary of its implementation.

“Renegotiation is out of the question,” Rouhani told reporters at his Tehran office on Tuesday. The accord “isn’t something where one person elected can say, ‘I don’t like it.”’

Trump, who becomes president on Friday, has called the pact “one of the worst deals ever made” and has variously vowed to scrap or renegotiate it. That won’t be so simple, Rouhani said, because Iran made the deal with five other nations besides the U.S. and it’s been endorsed by the United Nations Security Council.

The easing of international sanctions on Iran last January in accordance with the deal has failed to deliver the investment and improved living standards Iranians had hoped for. This has hurt Rouhani, who is expected to stand for re-election in May, and raised concerns that it may encourage the Iranian leadership to adopt a harsher tone toward the U.S.

A Trump presidency “won’t impact future elections in Iran,” the 68-year-old Iranian president said in reply to a question. 

Hardliners who oppose Rouhani and his policy of overture to the West have questioned the benefits of the nuclear deal for the nation and ordinary Iranians.

Rouhani defended the deal by pointing to a rise in oil exports and production and progress in the aviation industry, including the delivery last week of the first new aircraft in more than two decades. Iran reached its single-digit inflation target last year and its economy has grown 7.4 percent in the six months to September, according to official figures.

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