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U.S. Says Iran Trying To 'Hold World Hostage' By Threatening to Quit Nuclear Deal

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley - File photo

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations on August 15 said Iran is trying to "hold the world hostage" by warning that it might abandon the 2015 nuclear agreement because of continued U.S. "sanctions and coercion."

Ambassador Nikki Haley was responding to a warning from Iranian President Hassan Rohani earlier in the day that U.S. President Donald Trump, who has imposed several rounds of new sanctions on Iran, has shown he is "not a good partner" by repeatedly threatening to walk away from the agreement.

Rohani said that could lead Iran to abandon its commitment to curb nuclear activities under the deal "within hours."

Haley in a statement at the UN in New York said the sanctions imposed by Trump were unrelated to the nuclear deal, under which the United States and other world powers agreed to lift most economic sanctions on Iran.

She said Tehran must be held responsible for "its missile launches, support for terrorism, disregard for human rights, and violations of UN Security Council resolutions."

"Iran cannot be allowed to use the nuclear deal to hold the world hostage," Haley said."The nuclear deal must not become 'too big to fail'."

Haley added that "Iran, under no circumstances, can ever be allowed to have nuclear weapons."

Rohani earlier in the day told lawmakers in Tehran that the Trump administration seems to want to go back to the way it was before the nuclear agreement by repeatedly trying to force Iran to change through pressure tactics rather than negotiations.

"The failed experience of sanctions and coercion brought their previous administrations to the negotiating table," he said in a televised speech.

"If they want to go back to that experience, definitely in a short time -- not weeks or months, but in the scale of hours and days -- we will return to our previous situation very much more stronger," he said.

Rohani said Trump since taking office has shown the world he is "not a good partner" not only with respect to the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but on other global treaties.

"In recent months, the world has witnessed that the U.S., in addition to its constant and repetitive breaking of its promises in the JCPOA, has ignored several other global agreements and shown its allies that the U.S. is neither a good partner nor a reliable negotiating party," Rohani told parliament.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert on August 15 did not address Rohani's comments directly, but insisted that Washington was in full compliance with its side of the nuclear agreement.

Nauert also said Washington was reviewing its policy toward Iran and that it believes the nuclear deal didn’t put an end to Tehran's other "destabilizing activities" in the region.

Trump once again asserted earlier this month that Iran is not "living up to the spirit" of the nuclear deal, which he described as a "horrible agreement."

The accord with world powers gave Iran relief from international sanctions in exchange for curbing its nuclear activities.

U.S. and UN watchdogs monitoring compliance with the agreement have found Iran has adhered to the deal.

With reporting by AP, AFP, Reuters, and IRNA