Iran's Hassan Rouhani on Donald Trump
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani attends a news conference in Tehran Reuters file photo

The US is "shamelessly threatening Russia with an atomic weapon", according to Iran's President Hassan Rouhani. His statement comes after the Trump administration published a document about its renewed nuclear policy on Friday, 2 February. In the document, Washington had outlined plans to expand its nuclear capabilities.

Iran has become the latest nation to lambast the US over its new nuclear policy document release. Taking a dig at the US, the Iranian president also said that the US speaks of peace while threatening other nations with nuclear weapons.

Placing China and Russia among the central reasons for its strategic move, the US' policy outline had argued it is necessary to strengthen its nuclear arsenal in its Nuclear Posture Review (NPR).

Rouhani, formerly a moderate cleric who was a key force behind Iran's successful nuclear deal in 2015, said such developments would also force Tehran to boost its own capabilities in order to counterbalance the threats that his country faces.

"The same people who supposedly believe that using weapons of mass destruction is a crime against humanity... are talking about new weapons to threaten or use against rivals," said the Iranian president while speaking in a video conference. "The Americans are shamelessly threatening Russia with a new atomic weapon."

He went on to add: "In today's world, everyone is threatening everyone. It seems quite far-fetched that the world would come to a point in years to come where no country would be waging wars against another."

Speaking about Iran's rights to boost its own defence capabilities, he continued: "Once the legitimacy and righteousness of war become clear to the people, once they realise that the war is an act of defence and resistance against invasion, they will continue to persevere even if the war is to take eight to ten years."

Rouhani's remarks were echoed by Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif who said the US' policy was taking the world close to "annihilation".

"The US Nuclear Posture Review reflects greater reliance on nukes in violation of the #NPT, bringing humankind closer to annihilation. No wonder the Doomsday Clock is at its most dangerous since 1953. Trump's obduracy in killing the #JCPOA stems from the same dangerous imprudence," wrote Zarif, who was the chief negotiator in the discussions between Iran and global powers.