We won't let Trump harm nuclear deal: Iran

A handout picture made available by the presidential official website shows Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Source: AAP

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani says he won't allow Donald Trump to tear up the country's nuclear deal with world powers.

Iran's president says his country will not allow incoming US President Donald Trump to "tear up" Iran's landmark nuclear deal with world powers and also warned Tehran will react to any extension of American sanctions.

The comments by Hassan Rouhani came during a speech at the University of Tehran commemorating the killings of Iranian students protesting a visit by then-US Vice President Richard Nixon in 1953.

Rouhani's remarks show the high-wire stakes he faces after Trump's inauguration in trying to defend the deal struck by his moderate administration.

The timing - during an annual remembrance of the students' killing at the hands of the US-backed Shah Reza Pahlavi's security forces - also shows the internal challenges he faces from hard-liners already suspicious of America's intentions.

"The US is our enemy," Rouhani said. "They want to put pressure on us as much as they can."

Rouhani never mentioned Trump by name in his speech, though he prefaced his remarks with noting that "some man ... elected in the US."

"Whatever plans he has, it will be revealed later," Rouhani said. "He may desire to weaken the nuclear deal. He may desire to rip up the deal. Do you suppose we will allow this? Will our nation allow this?"

On the campaign trail, Trump called the multi-nation deal "catastrophic" and vowed to renegotiate it, without explaining how.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said any party can leave the nuclear agreement. But he said such a move would be counterproductive because the deal is working.

Toner said it was premature to judge what the incoming Trump administration would do with the Iran deal.

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