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Iran’s Rouhani celebrates departure of ‘tyrant’ Trump

Islamic Republic president says outgoing US counterpart’s 4 years in office ‘bore no fruit other than injustice and corruption’

US President Donald Trump, left, on July 22, 2018, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on February 6, 2018. (AP Photo)
US President Donald Trump, left, on July 22, 2018, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on February 6, 2018. (AP Photo)

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday hailed the departure of “tyrant” US counterpart Donald Trump, who is due to leave office later in the day making way for US President-elect Joe Biden.

A “tyrant’s era came to an end and today is the final day of his ominous reign,” Rouhani said in televised remarks to his cabinet. “Someone for whom all of his four years bore no fruit other than injustice and corruption and causing problems for his own people and the world.”

During his presidency, Trump led a campaign of “maximum pressure” against Iran, pulling Washington out of a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran in 2018 and reimposing punishing sanctions.

The sanctions targeted Iran’s vital oil sales and international banking ties, plunging its economy into a deep recession.

Signed by major powers and Iran in 2015 when Biden was vice president under Barack Obama, the nuclear deal imposed clear limits on Iran’s activities in exchange for relief from international sanctions.

In this April 9, 2018 file photo, released by an official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani listens to explanations on new nuclear achievements at a ceremony to mark “National Nuclear Day,” in Tehran, Iran.(Iranian Presidency Office via AP, File)

Since 2019, Tehran has suspended its compliance with most of the limits set by the agreement in response to Washington’s abandonment of sanctions relief and the failure of other parties to the deal to make up for it.

Biden’s pick for secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, said at a Senate confirmation hearing that Trump’s policies had made Iran “more dangerous.”

Blinken confirmed Biden’s desire for Washington to return to the nuclear agreement, but said that was conditional on Tehran’s return to strict compliance with its commitments.

Tehran has repeatedly called on Washington to lift sanctions first and respect its own obligations under the agreement. It has said it will then immediately return to full compliance.

Iran — which is sworn to Israel’s destruction and financially backs terror groups in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip — has begun enriching uranium to 20 percent purity, just a short technical step away from weapons-grade 90% enrichment. The foreign ministers of the European signatories to the deal — Germany, France and Britain — warned Saturday that the Iranian activity “has no credible civil justification” and have called on Tehran to adhere to the accord.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned against the US rejoining the agreement, speaking out in November and December against the move and urging Biden to continue Trump’s maximum pressure campaign of sanctions against Iran.

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