Iran’s political focus has quickly returned to US sanctions, following the inauguration of President Hassan Rouhani for a second term.
Soon after Rouhani’s endorsement by the Supreme Leader on Thursday, Ayatollah Khamenei’s top aide Ali Akbar Velayati was telling reporters, “From early stages of the Islamic revolution we are used to the US sanctions imposed against Iran and are quite confident that we can resolve our issues through other means.”
He insisted that with the Supreme Leader’s proclaimed “Resistance Economy as “our main strategy, we can deal with sanctions”.
Iranian officials have been agitated by the US Congress’s passage of new restrictions, based on Tehran’s ballistic missile tests, alleged support of “terrorism”, and human rights record. Donald Trump signed the bill, which also includes measures against Russia and North Korea, on Wednesday.
Ongoing US sanctions, despite the implementation of the July 2015 nuclear agreement, have hindered Iran’s attempt at economic recovery after years of mismanagement and cut-off of economic and financial links. The Rouhani Government is still struggling for deals with foreign companies, particularly from Europe, because of fear of US punishment.
Velayati proclaimed yesterday that expansion of cooperation with Russia, China, and European countries “can help us resolve issues”, isolating the US “while empowering us”..
Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said the approval of the new sanctions is a “retrogressive, illegitimate, illogical move, which runs contrary to all human rights principles and international regulations.”
This is the latest example of “hostility towards the civilized Iranian people and an insult to all freedom-seeking people in the world”, Qassemi declaring, blaming US “hawks, extremist elements, and ill-wishers” with their “unilateralism and illogical enmity” towards Iran.
Qassemi repeated the Iranian line — set out by Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani last week — that Iran will adopt a proportionate response while remaining in the nuclear agreement with the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia).