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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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.
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
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 28: French President Francois Hollande (R) welcomes Iranian President Hassan Rouhani prior to attend a meeting at the Elysee Presidential Palace on January 28, 2016 in Paris, France. Hassan Rouhani is to make the first state visit to France by an Iranian president in nearly two decades following the lifting of sanctions against his country. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani (R) is welcomed by Pope Francis at the Vatican January 26, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Medichini/Pool TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani (L) shakes hands with Cuba's President Raul Castro at the Palace of the Revolution in Havana, Cuba, September 19, 2016. REUTERS/Alejandro Ernesto/Pool TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Cuba's former President Fidel Castro (R) and Iran's President Hassan Rouhani (L) meet in Havana, Cuba, September 19, 2016. Courtesy of Estudios Revolucion/Cubadebate/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
VIENNA, AUSTRIA - JULY 04: Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani shake hands at the Federal Chancellery on July 4, 2018 in Vienna, Austria. Rouhani is on a one-day visit to Austria, during which he is meeting with President van der Bellen and Chancellor Kurz and will attend an event at the Austrian Chamber of Commerce. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
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
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.
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 26: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L), meets with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on September 26, 2013 in New York City. While their have been talks of diplomatic relations between Iran and the United states restarting, Rouhani turned down an opportunity to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama earlier in the week. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
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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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