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Rouhani Warns Iran-US Tensions at Maximum

Rouhani Warns Iran-US Tensions at Maximum

Wednesday, 20 February, 2019 - 11:45
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during their meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, 14 February 2019. Sergei Chirikov/File Photo
London- Asharq Al-Awsat
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday relations with the United States had rarely been so bad and that sanctions imposed by the Trump administration targeting Tehran’s oil and banking sectors amounted to “a terrorist act”.

Animosity between Washington and Tehran - bitter foes since Iran’s 1979 revolution - has intensified since US President Donald Trump withdrew from an international nuclear deal with Tehran last May and reimposed sanctions lifted under the accord.

“The struggle between Iran and America is currently at a maximum. America has employed all its power against us,” Rouhani was quoted as saying in a cabinet meeting by the state broadcaster IRIB.

“The US pressures on firms and banks to halt business with Iran is one hundred percent a terrorist act,” he said.

Trump has reimposed the sanctions with the aim of slashing Iranian oil sales and choking its economy in order to curb its ballistic missile program and its activities in the Middle East, especially in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

Unlike the United States, European powers are working to preserve the 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran. But France has said it is ready to reimpose sanctions on Iran if no progress is made in talks over its ballistic missile program.

In a clear reaction to French pressure, Rouhani said: “We want a constructive interaction with the world, but the countries that work with us should not have excessive demands. Iran is firm in its stance and will act based on its national interests.”

Iran has said its missile program is purely defensive.

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