Rouhani: Iran will ‘proudly by­pass’ US sanc­tions

Iran Daily - - Front Page -

Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani said Mon­day Iran will break and “proudly by­pass sanc­tions” by the United States that took ef­fect on Mon­day tar­get­ing the coun­try’s oil and fi­nan­cial sec­tors.

Speak­ing at a meet­ing with the di­rec­tors and deputies of the Min­istry of Eco­nomic Af­fairs and Fi­nance, Pres­i­dent Rouhani said, “We should break the sanc­tions very well, and we will do that.

“With the help of the peo­ple, and the unity that ex­ists in our so­ci­ety, we have to make the Amer­i­cans un­der­stand that they must not use the lan­guage of force, pres­sure, and threats to speak to the great Ira­nian na­tion. They must be pun­ished once and for all.

“I an­nounce that we will proudly by­pass your il­le­gal, un­just sanc­tions be­cause it’s against in­ter­na­tional reg­u­la­tions.”

The sanc­tions de­scribed by the US as “the tough­est sanc­tions ever” come six months af­ter US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s con­tro­ver­sial de­ci­sion to aban­don the mul­ti­lat­eral nu­clear deal with Iran. He an­nounced in May that Wash­ing­ton would with­draw uni­lat­er­ally from the land­mark nu­clear pact signed in 2015 be­tween Tehran and ma­jor global pow­ers.

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 to con­tinue buy­ing oil in a bid to avoid dis­turb­ing their economies and global mar­kets.

China, In­dia, South Korea, Ja­pan and Turkey – all top im­porters of Ira­nian oil – are among eight coun­tries ex­pected to be given waivers.

Pres­i­dent Rouhani said US of­fi­cials had in fact con­ceded de­feat.

“They (the Amer­i­cans) saw that they couldn’t re­place [Ira­nian oil on the mar­ket]; and even as­sum­ing they did not con­cede de­feat and did not grant waivers to coun­tries, we would still be able to sell our oil [be­cause] we have ad­e­quate ca­pa­bil­i­ties to do that,” the Ira­nian pres­i­dent said.

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

Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion says it wants a new deal with Iran that curbs its ac­tiv­i­ties around the Mid­dle East and mis­sile pro­gram – de­mands that have been flatly re­jected by Tehran.

De­spite the US with­drawal, Iran has stayed in the deal but has stressed that the other par­ties to the agree­ment have to work to off­set the neg­a­tive im­pacts of the US pull­out. Europe has been tak­ing a range of mea­sures to meet the Ira­nian de­mand for prac­ti­cal guar­an­tees.

Pres­i­dent Rouhani said Europe, too, was an­gry at US poli­cies.

“To­day, what the Amer­i­cans are do­ing is merely pres­sure [or­di­nary] peo­ple, and no one else. It’s pres­sure [that is be­ing put] on [the Ira­nian] peo­ple, other na­tions, other [for­eign] busi­nesses, and other gov­ern­ments,” he said. “To­day, we are not the only ones who are an­gry at US poli­cies; even Euro­pean busi­nesses and gov­ern­ments are an­gered by US poli­cies, too.”

‘Euro­peans want Trump gone’

Rouhani also said he be­lieved that Amer­ica had never be­fore seen as law­less an ad­min­is­tra­tion as that of Trump’s.

He said all US ad­min­is­tra­tions had vi­o­lated in­ter­na­tional law, but “th­ese (cur­rent of­fi­cials) score on top on the law­less­ness rank­ings.”

“I don’t re­call a group as­sum­ing power at the White House that was racist as th­ese,” the Ira­nian pres­i­dent said.

“This is not [just] us who wish for the life of this in­cum­bent ad­min­is­tra­tion in the US to be­come shorter and shorter; their (the Amer­i­cans’) own Euro­pean al­lies have told me in [pri­vate] meet­ings that that is one of their wishes,” Rouhani said.

‘Di­a­logue needs no in­ter­me­di­ary’

Rouhani said when he was in New York for the an­nual meet­ing of the United Na­tions Gen­eral As­sem­bly in Septem­ber, “the lead­ers of four ma­jor coun­tries” sought to bro­ker a meet­ing be­tween him and the US pres­i­dent. He did not name those lead­ers.

“Con­stantly they are send­ing us mes­sages say­ing, ‘Let’s sit and ne­go­ti­ate.’ Ne­go­ti­a­tions for what?” said Rouhani.

He said, how­ever, that there was no need for me­di­a­tion.

“Honor your obli­ga­tions first! We will speak then,” Rouhani said, ad­dress­ing Amer­i­can of­fi­cials. “We have no prob­lem with talk­ing. If our in­ter­locu­tor hon­ors its word and prom­ises, what will be wrong with talk­ing?”

He noted that the uni­lat­eral with­drawal from the Iran deal has iso­lated the US.

“Just look at how many coun­tries sup­port the US move and how many don’t,” he said. “The fact Amer­ica in­sists on some­thing and the en­tire Euro­pean Union re­sists that same thing is noth­ing sim­ple. That means vic­tory for [our] diplo­macy and for­eign pol­icy.”

Ear­lier, Pres­i­dent Rouhani’s chief of staff an­nounced that Trump had eight times re­quested a meet­ing with the Ira­nian pres­i­dent while he was in New York but had been re­jected all eight times.

‘Iran in eco­nomic war’

Pres­i­dent Rouhani also said that the Is­lamic Repub­lic was en­gaged in “an eco­nomic war” with the US.

“We are in a sit­u­a­tion of eco­nomic war, con­fronting a bullying power. I don’t think that in the his­tory of Amer­ica, some­one has en­tered the White House who is so against law and in­ter­na­tional con­ven­tions,” he added.

“We have to stand and fight, and win,” he said. “God will help us win.”

The Ira­nian pres­i­dent also said the cur­rent eco­nomic prob­lems faced by Iran will not con­tinue.

“We will re­launch eco­nomic growth. No one should think the trend we have been see­ing in the past sev­eral months will con­tinue like that. This trend will be stopped.

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

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.

Rouhani’s cen­tral strat­egy since tak­ing power in 2013 was to boost the econ­omy by re­build­ing ties with the world and at­tract­ing bil­lions of dol­lars in for­eign in­vest­ment.

That now looks in tat­ters, de­spite the other par­ties to the nu­clear deal – Britain, France, Ger­many, China and Rus­sia – ve­he­mently op­pos­ing the US move and promis­ing to keep trade go­ing.

Pri­vate com­pa­nies and banks in those coun­tries are un­will­ing to make en­e­mies of the US Trea­sury and most in­ter­na­tional firms that set up in Iran af­ter the 2015 deal have been forced to leave, in­clud­ing France’s To­tal, Peu­geot and Re­nault, and Ger­many’s Siemens.

“To­day, it’s not just us who are an­gry with Amer­ica’s poli­cies. Even Euro­pean com­pa­nies are an­gry with Amer­ica’s poli­cies,” said Rouhani.

Press TV, AFP and Reuters con­trib­uted to this story.

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