Iran Daily: Rouhani Wishes Away US Threat to Economy

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses Government officials, July 25, 2018 (AFP)

President Hassan Rouhani has tried to wish away the US threat to Iran’s economy, even as the country is embroiled in currency and investment crises.

Responding implicitly to an all-caps Twitter blast from Donald Trump last weekend, Rouhani said at a Cabinet session on Wednesday:

The Iranian nation have opposed US rulers' stubbornness and mistreatment in all fields since the beginning, choosing the path of resistance and steadfastness.

Angered by a Rouhani reference to “mother of all wars” and direct challenge to him, Trump tweeted on Sunday, “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED”.

See Iran Daily, July 23: Trump Threatens War

Military action does not appear imminent, but the Trump Administration is causing economic damage as it pursues regime change, with withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal and expanding sanctions.

Major international firms have suspended business with Iran. The country’s oil exports are falling, with the prospect of a 40% drop. The currency has lost half its value since January and 20% in recent days, setting a historic low of 95,000:1 vs. the US dollar.

Rouhani tried to shrug this off on Wednesday, “The harder we work in the country for production and export, the stronger response we give to enemies’ plots against the Iranian nation.”

The President’s remarks echoed the proclamation of the Supreme Leader of a “Resistance Economy” for self-sufficiency to defy the US. He invoked the 1980s war with Iraq, “Everybody must know that the great Iranian nation will overcome this juncture alongside their Leader, which will be a lesson for the enemies and another honor for the great Iranian nation.”

Rouhani did not refer to specific economic measures, except for the replacement of the head of the Central Bank and a vague allusion to efforts for international links, notably with European countries: “In the banking field, we need to work harder and cooperate with the world, and despite US conspiracies, our central bank has made good efforts in this regard.”

He also said Iran will take the US to the International Court of Justice, “The fact that today an overwhelming majority of the countries around the world are calling US actions incorrect or condemning it or at least voicing regret, are signs of this resistance.”

Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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