Iran president: European troops in Mideast may be in danger

In this photograph taken Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, Iranian police officers take position while protesters gather in front of Amir Kabir University in T...
In this Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020 photo, wreckage from a Ukrainian plane  is seen on the ground and inside a water canal in Shahedshahr, southwest of th...
Rescue workers recover the bodies of victims of a Ukrainian plane crash in Shahedshahr, southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020...
People gather for a candlelight vigil to remember the victims of the Ukraine plane crash, at the gate of Amri Kabir University that some of the victim...
This undated photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, shows the wreckage of the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 at the...
Protesters chant slogans while holding up posters of Gen. Qassem Soleimani during a demonstration in front of the British Embassy in Tehran, Iran, Sun...
Rescue workers carry the body of a victim of an Ukrainian plane crash in Shahedshahr, southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. ...

In this photograph taken Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, Iranian police officers take position while protesters gather in front of Amir Kabir University in T...

In this Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020 photo, wreckage from a Ukrainian plane is seen on the ground and inside a water canal in Shahedshahr, southwest of th...

Rescue workers recover the bodies of victims of a Ukrainian plane crash in Shahedshahr, southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020...

People gather for a candlelight vigil to remember the victims of the Ukraine plane crash, at the gate of Amri Kabir University that some of the victim...

This undated photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, shows the wreckage of the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 at the...

Protesters chant slogans while holding up posters of Gen. Qassem Soleimani during a demonstration in front of the British Embassy in Tehran, Iran, Sun...

Rescue workers carry the body of a victim of an Ukrainian plane crash in Shahedshahr, southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. ...

NEW DELHI (AP) — Iran’s president is warning that European soldiers deployed in the Mideast “may be in danger” after Britain, France and Germany challenged Tehran over breaking limits of its 2015 nuclear deal.

Hassan Rouhani made the comment Wednesday during a televised Cabinet meeting.

It comes after the nations started a dispute process over Iran breaking limits from the accord.

It marks the first time Rouhani has threatened Europe amid tensions with the U.S., which unilaterally withdrew from the deal in May 2018 under President Donald Trump.

THIS IS A MAJOR NEWS UPDATE. AP's previous story is below.

Iran's top diplomat acknowledged Wednesday that Iranians “were lied to” for days following the Islamic Republic accidentally shooting down a Ukrainian jetliner, killing 176 people.

The comments by Mohammad Javad Zarif in New Delhi represent the first time an Iranian official referred to the earlier story that a technical malfunction downed the Ukraine International Airlines flight as a lie.

The shootdown has sparked days of angry protests in the country.

“In the last few nights, we’ve had people in the streets of Tehran demonstrating against the fact that they were lied to for a couple of days,” Zarif said.

Zarif went onto praise Iran's military for being “brave enough to claim responsibility early on."

However, he said that he and President Hassan Rouhani only learned that a missile had down the flight on Friday, raising new questions over how much power Iran's civilian government has in its Shiite theocracy. Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, which shot down the aircraft, knew immediately afterward its missile downed the airline.

The Guard is answerable only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is expected to preside over Friday prayers in Iran for the first time in years over anger about the crash.

___

Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.