7 August 2018Hot off the Press
On Monday (local time), Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the United States’ plan to re-impose sanctions an attempt at “psychological warfare” that “doesn’t make sense”.
During an interview on state television Mr Rouhani said: “If you’re an enemy and you stab the other person with a knife and then you say you want negotiations, then the first thing you have to do is remove the knife.”
It is Mr Rouhani’s first response to US President Donald Trump’s offer of talks to negotiate a replacement for the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which the US controversially withdrew from earlier this year.
His comments come as Iran braces for the re-instatement of US sanctions against the Persian Gulf nation on Tuesday (local time).
“They want to launch psychological warfare against the Iranian nation,” Mr Rouhani said. “Negotiations with sanctions doesn’t make sense.”
The first round of sanctions will take effect overnight, and targets Iran’s access to US Dollar banknotes and key industries including cars and carpets, according to SBS.
In a statement, Mr Trump said: “We urge all nations to take such steps to make clear that the Iranian regime faces a choice: either change its threatening, destabilising behavior and reintegrate with the global economy, or continue down a path of economic isolation.”
“I remain open to reaching a more comprehensive deal that addresses the full range of the regime’s malign activities, including its ballistic missile program and its support for terrorism,” he added.
The second round of sanctions will come into effect on 5 November and will blockade Iran’s oil trade. However, several countries including China, India, and Turkey, have indicated they will not cut energy purchases from Iran.
Europe has expressed disappointment with the US’ move, with the European Union’s foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, saying the EU is “determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran.”
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the reaction from the international community shows the US is diplomatically isolated.
“Of course, American bullying and political pressures may cause some disruption, but the fact is that in the current world, America is isolated,” Mr Zarif told reporters Monday, according to the ISNA news agency.
Mr Zarif also tweeted:
Trump Administration wants the world to believe it's concerned about the Iranian people. Yet the very first sanctions it reimposed have canceled licenses for sales of 200+ passenger jets under absurd pretexts, endangering ordinary Iranians. US hypocrisy knows no bounds.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) August 6, 2018
Iran’s currency plummeted to almost half its value since the US withdrew from the nuclear agreement, sparking widespread civil unrest as citizens grapple with soaring costs.
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