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With burned flags and mockery, Iran responds to Trump’s nuclear decision

Iran's supreme leader calls Trump's nuclear deal speech 'silly and superficial' while president says Tehran still committed to the deal
Iranian lawmakers burn an American flag to protest US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal (AFP)

An American flag was burned on the floor of Iran’s parliament on Wednesday as the country’s politicians and leaders expressed their disdain for US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the international nuclear deal.

As lawmakers lit up the American flag, the parliament speaker Ali Larjiani said Trump “does not have the mental capacity to deal with issues” while Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called Trump’s speech “silly and superficial”.

'I tell you on behalf of the Iranian people: You've made a mistake'

- Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

"He had maybe more than 10 lies in his comments. He threatened the regime and the people, saying I'll do this and that. Mr Trump I tell you on behalf of the Iranian people: You've made a mistake,” Khamenei said, according to his website.

Trump said on Tuesday that the 2015 deal agreed with world powers to limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities and prevent it from developing nuclear weapons was “defective” and would be replaced with sanctions on Tehran.

He used his White House speech to attack the Obama-era deal, saying it was failing to protect the US and its allies from the “lunacy of an Iranian nuclear bomb”.

Iranian state TV reported that a group of Iranian lawmakers had urged a strong response to Trump’s decision.

"We parliamentarians, of different political affiliations, support the establishment's stance against renegotiating the (nuclear) deal. America cannot impose its illegitimate demands on Iran ... and ignore Iran's rights," they said in a letter addressed to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iranian media have broadcast images of protesters in the capital Tehran burning American flags and the nuclear deal’s text.

President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that Iran was still committed to the deal and that he had ordered talks with European countries, who have confirmed they will not be withdrawing or placing sanctions on Iran, and Iran’s allies China and Russia.

Trump’s move was celebrated by Israel, which has been opposed to the deal from the outset and has recently ramped up its rhetoric, claiming Iran has lied about its nuclear capabilities and is escalating its activity in Syria to use as a base for attacks against Israel.

Israel reportedly struck an Iranian facility near Damascus overnight on Tuesday, killing at least 15 pro-government fighters, including eight Iranians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activist group.

On Wednesday, Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed they fired long-range missiles at Saudi Arabia, Iran’s regional rival, which were intercepted over the capital Riyadh.

Iranians fear the impact sanctions could have on Iran’s economy and there have been months of instability in Iran’s banking sector because of the uncertainty over the US position.

Mohammad Reza Pourebrahimi, head of parliament's economic committee, was quoted by the semi-official ISNA news agency in March as saying $30bn had been transferred out of the country in recent months.

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