President Hassan Rouhani has said that the Renewed US sanctions had led to worse economic conditions than during the country’s 1980-88 war with neighbouring Iraq, His comments came after rising tensions with the US.
President Rouhani, who has come under domestic political pressure, called for political unity to face down sanctions.
Mr Rouhani told political activists .”During the war we did not have a problem with our banks, oil sales or imports and exports, and there were only sanctions on arms purchases,”
“The pressures by enemies is a war unprecedented in the history of our Islamic revolution … but I do not despair and have great hope for the future and believe that we can move past these difficult conditions provided that we are united,” he said.
The US- Iran escalation has put into question the future of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal that Iran signed with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.
US President Donald Trump unilaterally abandoned the deal and re -imposed sanctions last year and Iran has indicated it may also resume nuclear activities if the other partners go along with American sanctions.
President Rouhani has personally come under pressure from hardliners in Iran after the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal his administration negotiated.
Under the accord, Iran had agreed to limit its sensitive nuclear activities and allow in international inspectors in return for sanctions relief.
US sanctions – particularly those on the energy, shipping and financial sectors – have hit oil exports and caused foreign investment to dry up.
The sanctions prevent US companies from trading with Iran directly and also with any foreign firms or countries that are dealing with Iran.
However the Trump administration hopes to compel Iran to negotiate a “new deal” that would cover not only its nuclear activities, but also its ballistic missile programme and what officials call its “malign behaviour” across the Middle East