Iran President Vows to Defy US Sanctions

Iran President Vows to Defy US Sanctions

Monday, 5 November, 2018 - 11:15
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. (AP)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani vowed on Monday to defy the newly re-imposed US sanctions.

He condemned the sanctions as an “economic war” Washington is waging in an attempt to curb Tehran’s missile and nuclear programs and weaken its influence in the Middle East.

The US move restores sanctions lifted under a 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by the administration of President Barack Obama and five other world powers. It adds 300 new designations in Iran’s oil, shipping, insurance and banking sectors.

“Today the enemy (the United States) is targeting our economy...the main target of sanctions is our people,” Rouhani said.

“America wanted to cut to zero Iran’s oil sales… but we will continue to sell our oil...to break sanctions,” he told economists at a meeting broadcast live on state television.

"I announce that we will proudly bypass your illegal, unjust sanctions because it's against international regulations," he said.

The sanctions were illegal and unfair, he said.

“This is an economic war against Iran but ... America should learn that it cannot use the language of force against Iran ... We are prepared to resist any pressure,” Rouhani said.

Trump announced in May his government was withdrawing from what he called the “worst ever” agreement negotiated by the United States.

“Iran is a much different country than it was when I took office,” said Trump, adding: “They wanted to take over the whole Middle East. Right now they just want to survive.”

The latest tranche of US sanctions aims to significantly cut Iran's oil exports -- which have already fallen by up to one million barrels a day since May -- and cut off its banks from international finance.

The United States has given temporary exemptions to eight countries -- including India, Japan and Turkey -- to continue buying oil in a bid to avoid disturbing their economies and global markets.

But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed to push Iran's oil sales to zero.

"Watch what we do. Watch as we've already taken more crude oil off the market than any time in previous history," he told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

Iran's economy was already suffering major structural problems -- including widespread corruption, weak investment and a banking sector laden with toxic assets -- before Trump walked out of the nuclear deal.

But Trump's announcement in May helped fuel a run on Iran's currency that has seen the rial lose more than two thirds of its value, driving up prices and forcing the government to resort to food handouts for the country's poor.

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