Iran's Rouhani insults Trump as nuclear deal hangs in balance

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday dismissed Donald Trump as unqualified to deal with important international issues amid U.S. threats to potentially walk away from the landmark nuclear deal with Tehran.

Rouhani spoke on state TV after French leader Emmanuel Macron flew to Washington to meet with the U.S. president. Among Macron's aims was convincing Trump to stick with the 2015 pact, which saw Iran sharply curtail its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.

Rouhani, a reforming cleric, unleashed a series of insults during his speech.

"You don't have any background in politics," Reuters quoted him saying in comments directed at Trump. "You don't have any background in law. You don't have any background on international treaties."

Rouhani added: "How can a tradesman, a merchant, a building constructor, a tower constructor make judgments about international affairs?"

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a meeting with Muslim leaders and scholars in Hyderabad, India, February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends a meeting with Muslim leaders and scholars in Hyderabad, India, February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani waves towards the media as he exits Mecca Masjid following Friday prayers in Hyderabad, India February 16, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (C), his Indian counterpart Ramnath Kovind (L) and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi walk after Rouhani's ceremonial reception in New Delhi, India, February 17, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani shake hands during their meeting in Sochi, Russia, November 22, 2017. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
A video projection is seen on the face of Iran's President Hassan Rouhani as he arrives for a news conference during the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, U.S. September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani delivers remarks at a news conference during the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, U.S. September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani arrives at a news conference during the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, U.S. September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani attends a news conference in Tehran, Iran, May 22, 2017. TIMA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
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Leaders in both countries have engaged in an escalating war of words over the Obama-era nuclear accord, which Trump has derided as a "terrible deal."

On Tuesday, Trump said was "insane" and "ridiculous" that the agreement between Iran and the U.S., China, Russia, France, U.K., Germany and the European Union did not cover Tehran's possession of ballistic missiles or its destabilizing actions in places like Yemen or Syria.

Trump also warned that if Iran restarts its nuclear program it would "have bigger problems" than ever before.

The White House has hoped to enlist European allies in new negotiations with Iran, but Europeans — including Macron — have warned that doing so would alienate Iran.

In May, Trump will once again have to decide whether to recertify the Iran deal to Congress.

If he doesn't, he could begin the process to reversing the deal.

Iran has threatened to resume enrichment activities if the agreement collapses.

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