Sanc­tions re­newal shows US still ‘enemy’: Iran

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

TEHRAN:

Iran’s Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani said yes­ter­day that Con­gress’s de­ci­sion to re­new US sanc­tions for 10 years would elicit a “harsh re­ac­tion” and proved the United States was still an enemy. “Amer­ica... is our enemy, we have no doubt about this. The Amer­i­cans want to put as much pres­sure on us as they can,” Rouhani said in a speech to stu­dents at Tehran Univer­sity. The Iran Sanc­tions Act passed the US Se­nate 99-0 last week, af­ter eas­ily clear­ing the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Novem­ber.

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama is ex­pected to sign the mea­sure into a law, a White House of­fi­cial said, adding that the ad­min­is­tra­tion does not be­lieve the ex­ten­sion vi­o­lates last year’s nu­clear deal between ma­jor pow­ers and Iran. Obama has sus­pended sanc­tions re­lated to Iran’s nu­clear pro­gram since the agree­ment went into ef­fect at the start of the year.

But Iran says that even if the nu­clear sanc­tions re­main sus­pended, just keep­ing them on the books amounts to a breach of the agree­ment. “If this is im­ple­mented... it would be a bla­tant and clear breach of the JCPOA (nu­clear agree­ment) and would face a very harsh re­ac­tion from us,” Rouhani said. The ac­tual lan­guage in the agree­ment could be in­ter­preted in dif­fer­ent ways. It calls on the US to “cease the ap­pli­ca­tion of... all nu­clear-re­lated sanc­tions”. It does not spec­ify whether Wash­ing­ton can keep them in re­serve for pos­si­ble use in the fu­ture.

At a press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day, con­ser­va­tive par­lia­ment speaker Ali Lar­i­jani said parts of the deal were “rushed”. “Some of the sec­tions of the JCPOA should have been writ­ten with more pre­ci­sion to stop dif­fer­ing in­ter­pre­ta­tions,” Lar­i­jani said. “I be­lieve Iran should file a com­plaint in re­gard of the Amer­i­cans’ breach of the JCPOA,” he added. Rouhani and other top of­fi­cials are due to meet on Wed­nes­day to dis­cuss the is­sue. Rouhani, who is ex­pected to run for a sec­ond term in May, has faced a bar­rage of crit­i­cism from con­ser­va­tives who say his team made too many concessions in the nu­clear deal for min­i­mal eco­nomic gain.

In yes­ter­day’s speech, he em­pha­sized that his team had not acted alone and that supreme leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei was closely in­volved at ev­ery stage of the ne­go­ti­a­tions. “We took no step on the JCPOA is­sue with­out con­sult­ing the hon­ourable leader,” Rouhani said.

Al­though Iran has man­aged to sig­nif­i­cantly ramp up its oil ex­ports since the deal, it has strug­gled to re­join the in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial sys­tem be­cause ma­jor Western banks re­main re­luc­tant to do busi­ness for fear of re­main­ing non-nu­clear US sanc­tions. The re­sult has been that Iran has been un­able to at­tract the huge for­eign in­vest­ment which Rouhani has said is nec­es­sary to rekin­dle the coun­try’s bat­tered econ­omy. — AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.