Donald Trump has defended his decision to withdraw the US from the Iran nuclear deal, saying “bedlam” and “death” follow wherever Iran is involved.
Speaking during a cabinet meeting, the US president said he is open to negotiating a new deal with Iran, but added: “We’re going to make either a really good deal for the world, or we’re not going to make a deal at all.”
Mr Trump disregarded the pleas of US allies to remain in the agreement, and instead announced that he would reinstate sanctions on Iran in the coming months.
The US leader said the Iran deal was “one-sided” and would have led to nuclear proliferation. He added that he would “advise Iran not to start their nuclear programme”.
Earlier, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei chastised Mr Trump, while MPs set fire to a US flag inside parliament, shouting, “Death to America!”
The body of this man, Trump, will turn to ashes and become the food of the worms and ants, while the Islamic Republic continues to stand.Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
The government backlash reflected broad public anger in Iran over the decision. While Iranian officials, including the parliament speaker, say they hope Europe will work with them to preserve the deal, many are pessimistic.
In comments before school teachers, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Mr Trump: “You cannot do a damn thing.”
The exhortation from Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters, follows a pattern of Iranian leaders declaring their nation’s ability to resist foreign pressure or interference.
Khamenei described Mr Trump’s announcement as having “over 10 lies,” without elaborating on them. He also said Mr Trump’s remarks threatened both Iran’s people and its theocratic government.
Khamenei said: “The body of this man, Trump, will turn to ashes and become the food of the worms and ants, while the Islamic Republic continues to stand.”
Earlier, MPs, including a Shia cleric, held the flaming flag alight as their colleagues joined their chants in parliament. They also burned a piece of paper representing the nuclear deal and stomped on the papers’ ashes.
Later, dozens of hardliners set fire to a US flag during a protest in front of the former US embassy and called for a retaliatory response.