Watch: Iran Lawmakers Burn US Flag, Shout "Death To America"

Hard-line lawmakers celebrated President Donald Trump's announcement to pull the US out of the Iran deal - a decision that will mostly help them win the sympathies of the Iranian people - by burning a US flag while shouting "Death to America!" in Parliament, the Telegraph reported.

They also burned a piece of paper representing the nuclear deal (despite Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declaring during his rebuttal to Trump that Iran would seek further cooperation with its European partners and China, but barring that would begin enriching uranium "in the next weeks") and stomped on the paper's ashes.

Rouhani dispatched his foreign minister, Javad Zarif, to begin negotiating with the countries still in the deal - a group that includes, France, the UK, Germany, Russia and China. Even so, Rouhani stressed that he could restart the country's centrifuges at any time.

"So if necessary, we can begin our industrial enrichment without any limitations," the Iranian leader said. "Until implementation of this decision, we will wait for some weeks and will talk with our friends and allies and other signatories of the nuclear deal, who signed it and who will remain loyal to it. Everything depends on our national interests."

After the flag burning demonstration, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said responsibility for saving the accord now falls to the European Union.

"The period is only a window in which the EU can prove if it has enough weight for settling down international issues or not?" he said.

Larijani also urged the country's nuclear program to prepare for "resumption of all aspects of nuclear activities."

All of the remaining signatories to the deal expressed their disappointment with the US decision.

On Wednesday, China vowed to "safeguard" the agreement.

"China calls on all relevant parties to assume a responsible attitude, bear in mind the long-term and general interest, persist towards a political and diplomatic resolution and properly control disputes, so as to return at an early date to the right track of implementing the deal," foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular press briefing.

Sergei Lavrov, Russia's acting foreign minister, said Russia remained committed to the deal.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council basked in what they see as an immense political victory over their regional rival, Tehran.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain swiftly backed U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to reimpose sanctions on Tehran, reflecting their concern about Iran's ballistic missile programme and support for militant groups.

"Paris and London may not like Trump’s decision, but how would the French or British feel if their capital cities came under direct threat by the Iranians?" Faisal Abbas wrote in Saudi Arabia's English-language Arab News daily next to a headline that read: "The deal is dead."

Many observers said that, while harsh criticism of the US has been a staple of Iranian politics for years, it was the first time anybody could remember something being burned inside the Parliament building.

The demonstration reflects broad public anger in Iran following Trump's decision, which effectively puts an end to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, otherwise known as the Iran deal (although as noted earlier, there are many unknowns on just how the unwind will take place). While Iranian officials, including the parliament speaker, say they hope Europe will work with them to preserve the deal, many are pessimistic.


The lawmakers, including a Shiite cleric, held the flaming flag alight as their colleagues joined their chants.

While US flag-burning is common in Iran and harsh criticism of America has been a staple of Iranian parliamentary politics for years, it was the first time political observers could remember anything being burned inside the parliament itself.