Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday accused the US of committing an “atrocity” for sanctions that have inflicted damages of $150 billion, and urged the Iranian people to blame the White House for recent financial woes, in a televised address on Iranian state TV.
The United States imposed fresh sanctions this week on Iran’s defense ministry and enforced an arms embargo under a United Nations authority that is widely contested.
“The people should curse the White House for the shortages… the main source of all the crimes and pressures against the Iranian nation is the White House,” Rouhani said.
Rouhani went on to blame the ails of Iranian society on “Zionism, reactionary approaches, and US extremists.”
In his closing remarks, Rouhani said that he had “no doubt the US administration will bow down before the Iranian nation.”
Tensions between the US and Iran have escalated since US President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 deal aimed at capping Iran’s nuclear activities in return for sanction relief, and unilaterally reimposed sanctions on Iran in 2018.
Despite pulling out of the nuclear deal, Trump announced Monday that the US has reimposed UN sanctions on the grounds that the United States is still a “participant” in the accord, as it was listed in the 2015 resolution.
This argument has been rejected by virtually all nations on the UN Security Council, including US allies.
The sanctions target 27 entities and officials related to Iran’s nuclear proliferation activities, a statement from the White House said. The order seizes US assets from “those who contribute to the supply, sale, or transfer of conventional arms to or from Iran, as well as those who provide technical training, financial support and services, and other assistance related to these arms.”
Trump said in a statement: “This executive order is critical to enforcing the UN arms embargo on Iran. The order will greatly diminish the Iranian regime’s capacity to export arms to terrorists and dangerous actors throughout the region, as well as its ability to acquire weapons to build up its own forces.”
Agencies contributed to this report.