Politicians held the impromptu demonstration inside Parliament the day after Mr Trump’s decision. (AP)
Iranian MPs have set a paper US flag ablaze in Parliament shouting “Death to America!” after US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions.
Mr Trump announced on Tuesday he would reimpose US economic sanctions on Iran to undermine what he called “a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made”.
Politicians held the impromptu demonstration inside Parliament on Wednesday, the day after Mr Trump’s decision. They also burned a piece of paper representing the nuclear deal.
The chant “Death to America” long has been used in Iran since its 1979 Islamic Revolution. It also has been common to hear it within Parliament.
However, Wednesday’s demonstration shows the public anger coursing through Iran after Mr Trump’s decision.
President Hassan Rouhani, a reformist who had hoped that the deal would boost living standards in Iran, struck a more pragmatic tone in a televised speech, saying Iran would negotiate with European countries, China and Russia.
“If at the end of this short period we conclude that we can fully benefit from the JCPOA with the cooperation of all countries, the deal will remain,” he said.
Mr Trump’s decision adds to the strain on the transatlantic alliance since he took office 16 months ago. One by one, European leaders came to Washington and tried to meet his demands, while pleading with him to preserve the deal.
The Trump administration kept the door open to negotiating another deal with allies, but it is far from clear whether the Europeans would pursue that option or be able to convince Iran to accept it.
The leaders of Britain, Germany and France, signatories to the deal along with China and Russia, said in a joint statement that Mr Trump’s decision was a cause for “regret and concern”.
The European Union said it would remain committed to the deal and would ensure sanctions on Iran remain lifted, as long as Tehran meets its commitments. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said it was “totally unclear what the US envisages as an alternative to the deal”.
“The deal is not dead. There’s an American withdrawal from the deal but the deal is still there,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.
“The region deserves better than further destabilisation provoked by American withdrawal. So we want to adhere to it and see to it that Iran does too, that Iran behaves with restraint,” he told French radio station RTL.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who had backed the deal only reluctantly and remained suspicious of Washington, accused Mr Trump of lying, adding: “Mr Trump, I tell you on behalf of the Iranian people: You’ve made a mistake.”
China’s foreign ministry said Beijing would defend the deal and urged parties “to assume a responsible attitude”.
Abandoning the pact was one of the most consequential decisions of Mr Trump’s “America First” policy, which has led him to quit the global Paris climate accord, come close to a trade war with China and pull out of an Asian-Pacific trade deal.
It also appeared to reflect the growing influence within the administration of Iran hawks such as new National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who arrived in Pyongyang on Wednesday to prepare for a summit that Mr Trump hopes will secure North Korea’s denuclearisation.
The 2015 agreement, worked out by the United States, five other world powers and Iran, lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear program. The fruit of more than a decade of diplomacy, the pact was designed to prevent Iran obtaining a nuclear bomb.
Mr Trump complained that the deal, the signature foreign policy achievement of his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, did not address Iran’s ballistic missile program, its nuclear activities beyond 2025 or its role in conflicts in Yemen and Syria.
His decision raises the risk of deepening conflicts in the Middle East, puts the United States at odds with European diplomatic and business interests, and casts uncertainty over global oil supplies.
It could also strengthen the hand of hardliners at the expense of reformers in Iran’s political scene.