US sanc­tions are ‘eco­nomic ter­ror­ism’, says Iran’s Rouhani

Bangkok Post - - WORLD -

>> TEHRAN: Iran’s Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani said US sanc­tions were “eco­nomic ter­ror­ism”, as he sought to fos­ter a united front from vis­it­ing re­gional of­fi­cials yes­ter­day.

Washington has reim­posed an oil em­bargo and other dam­ag­ing sanc­tions on Iran since pulling out in May from a land­mark 2015 nu­clear deal be­tween Tehran and ma­jor pow­ers.

“Amer­ica’s un­just and il­le­gal sanc­tions against the honourable na­tion of Iran have tar­geted our na­tion in a clear in­stance of ter­ror­ism,” Mr Rouhani said in a tele­vised speech.

He was speak­ing at a con­fer­ence on ter­ror­ism and re­gional co­op­er­a­tion at­tended by parliament speak­ers from Afghanistan, China, Pak­istan, Rus­sia and Tur­key.

“We are fac­ing an all-out as­sault which is not only threat­en­ing our in­de­pen­dence and iden­tity but also is bent on break­ing our long­stand­ing ties,” he added.

Mr Rouhani drew par­al­lels with the sanc­tions and other pres­sure faced by the coun­tries at­tend­ing the con­fer­ence.

“When they put pres­sure on China’s trade, we are all harmed... By pun­ish­ing Tur­key, we are all pun­ished. Any time they threaten Rus­sia, we too con­sider our se­cu­rity to be en­dan­gered,” he said.

“When they im­pose sanc­tions on Iran, they deprive all of us of the ben­e­fits of in­ter­na­tional trade, en­ergy se­cu­rity and sus­tain­able devel­op­ment. And in fact, they im­pose sanc­tions on ev­ery­one.

“We are here to say that we don’t in­tend to tol­er­ate such in­so­lence.”

Mr Rouhani also warned Europe — which has strongly ob­jected to the US with­drawal from the nu­clear deal — that much is at stake in its ef­forts to by­pass US sanc­tions and main­tain trade with Iran.

“They should know that by sanc­tion­ing Iran, they would harm our abil­ity to fight drugs and ter­ror­ism,” Mr Rouhani said, re­fer­ring to Iran’s ef­forts to com­bat smug­gling, par­tic­u­larly from Afghanistan.

The Euro­pean Union is work­ing on a pay­ment sys­tem, known as the “spe­cial purpose ve­hi­cle”, to keep money flow­ing into Iran, but it has so far strug­gled to find a host since many coun­tries fear reper­cus­sions from the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The con­fer­ence in Tehran was the sec­ond re­gional meeting on ter­ror­ism — the first was held last De­cem­ber in Islamabad.

Rouhani: Sanc­tions threat­ens drug war

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