Rouhani: Trump’s is the most ‘spiteful’ US administration ever to Iranians
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Rouhani: Trump’s is the most ‘spiteful’ US administration ever to Iranians

Iran president downplays fresh US oil sanctions targeting country’s vital energy sector, says Washington missed out in withdrawing from nuclear deal

In this photo released by official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani speaks in a ceremony to mark the start of the Iranian academic year at Tehran University, Iran, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)
In this photo released by official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani speaks in a ceremony to mark the start of the Iranian academic year at Tehran University, Iran, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

Iran’s president on Sunday accused the Trump administration of being the most “spiteful” in its position on Tehran, in the history of American leadership.

“There has never been a more spiteful team than the current US administration toward Iran, Iranians and the Islamic Republic,” said President Hassan Rouhani in a speech at the University of Tehran to mark the beginning of the school year.

He also boasted that Washington has lost against the Islamic Republic’s “righteousness and wisdom” by walking out of the landmark nuclear deal.

“Everyone knows that America has lost legally and politically by giving up on its international obligations and that we have achieved victory,” said Rouhani.

“There are but a few countries in the world that would call the US withdrawal from the JCPOA (nuclear deal) a good move,” he added. “Those that are cautious express disappointment, those that are more frank say it was a mistake, and the outspoken say it was illegal.”

Washington pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers in May and is reimposing punishing sanctions on the country, hoping to pressure Tehran into what US President Donald Trump calls a “better deal.”

US President Donald J. Trump signs an executive order on Iran Sanctions at Trump National Golf Club, August 6, 2018, in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Iran has been grappling with an economic crisis in recent months, with its currency plunging to historic lows and sporadic protests breaking out.

The US is due to complete the reimposition of sanctions on November 5, targeting Iran’s oil sector and central bank. The Trump administration said it will press other countries to halt imports of Iranian oil, which would cut off a key source of revenue for Tehran.

Rouhani said next month’s sanctions “will have no effect,” because “the US has already done whatever it wanted to do.”

He said his administration has allocated some $15 billion to purchase basic goods in the current Iranian year, which ends next March.

The other parties to the nuclear agreement — Russia, China, the UK, France and Germany — have all pledged to continue to try to make the deal work, despite their firms being vulnerable to the US sanctions if they keep doing business with Iran.

An Iranian oil worker rides his bicycle near an oil refinery south of the capital, Tehran, December 22, 2014. (AP/Vahid Salemi)

Rouhani said Iran’s response had left Washington “empty-handed.”

“They expected us to leave the JCPOA hours after they announced they are, and what would have happened? The case would have returned to the UN Security Council, turned against Iran and isolated us,” he said.

He said Iran had lost nothing by staying in the deal and could leave “whenever” it chooses.

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