After US President Donald Trump's nuclear deal pullout, Iranian lawmakers lit a paper US flag on fire at parliament Wednesday, shouting "Death to America!"
The impromptu demonstration reflected broad public anger in Iran after Trump's decision, which threatens to destroy the 2015 nuclear accord. 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. They also burned a piece of paper representing the nuclear deal and stomped on the papers' ashes.
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.
Late Tuesday night, President Hassan Rouhani said he'd be sending Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the countries still in the deal - China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom.
Iran hopes the European Union will pass laws to protect European firms from any potential US sanctions. EU officials have suggested they'll do what they can to salvage the agreement.
Wednesday morning after the flag burning, parliament speaker Ali Larijani said responsibility for saving the deal fell on the EU and other world powers still in the accord.
"The period is only a window in which theEU can prove if it has enough weight for settling down international issues or not?" he said.
Larijani also urged the country's nuclear department to prepare for "resumption of all aspects of nuclear activities."
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team