Iran’s Rouhani Denounces US Sanctions As ‘Economic Terrorism’


TEHRAN — Iranian President Hassan Rou­hani has denounced US President Donald Trump’s decision to reimpose economic sanc­tions against Tehran, calling it a form of “eco­nomic terrorism”.

Speaking at a regional security confer­ence in Tehran on Saturday, Rouhani said the US intensions against Iran were “evi­dent”, when Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“The unjust and illegal American sanc­tions against the Iranian nation is a clear example of terrorism,” he told the gathering, which was attended by top legislative offi­cials from Iran, China, Russia, Turkey, Af­ghanistan and Pakistan.

He also accused the Trump administration of trying to “foment fear” among other coun­tries to prevent them from investing in Iran.

In May, Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal. That paved the way for the return of US sanctions, which came in two phases in August and November.

The first round of sanctions targeted Iran’s aviation as well as trading of gold and currency. The second round in November was directed at its oil export and banking industry.

Countries and non US-based companies face stiff penalties by the US if they continue to do business with Iran. However, the US also issued waivers to several countries, al­lowing them to continue buying Iranian oil.

The US sanctions have led to diminished foreign investments in Iran in the last few months, forcing many companies to shut down their operation, while also causing the Iranian currency to plummet and triggering inflation.

The US sanctions, as well as calls by sev­eral Trump advisors for the toppling of the Ira­nian regime, have triggered more tensions and sharp rhetoric between the two countries.

In October, Rouhani had accused the US of seeking regime change in his country.

Iran continues to be a signatory to the nuclear deal, and UN inspectors have repeat­edly said that Tehran continues to abide by its obligations in the multilateral agreement.

But Tehran has also hinted at abandon­ing the deal if the country does not get eco­nomic benefits from it.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned that the US sale of arms in the Middle East is turning the region into a “tinderbox”.

“The level of arms sales by the Americans is unbelievable and much beyond regional needs and this points to the very dangerous policies followed by the Americans,” Zarif said, according to ILNA news agency earlier on Saturday.

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