Economy

Iran's Rouhani shuns Trump call for talks on eve of sanctions

Iran's Rouhani shuns Trump call for talks on eve of sanctions

In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the White House would make an announcement on Monday detailing the reimposition of sanctions on Iran that Trump has ordered for this week.

The Trump administration said it would restore sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear accord at midnight on Monday, ratcheting up pressure on Tehran while worsening a divide with Europe.

The Trump administration "wants the world to believe it's concerned about the Iranian people".

The Trump administration has vowed to aggressively enforce economic sanctions being reimposed on Iran aimed at further crippling the nation's economy.

However, a Saudi official told Arab News that the decision signals "no change in position whatsoever" with regards to the relationship with Iran.

"We are intent on cutting off the regime's access to resources that they have systematically used to finance terror, fund weapons proliferation, and threaten peace and stability in the region", the official said.

And it has added to tensions inside Iran, which has seen days of protests and strikes in multiple towns and cities over water shortages, high prices and wider anger at the political system. Authorities reported the first fatality among protesters, with the shooting of a man in Karaj, west of Tehran.

Zarif lashed out at Trump, but acknowledged there were hard times ahead.

Pompeo noted that the USA has long designated Iran as the world's foremost state sponsor of terrorism and said it can not expect to be treated as an equal in the global community until it halts such activities.

Despite opposition from European allies, Trump in May pulled the United States out of a 2015 deal between world powers and Tehran under which worldwide sanctions were lifted in return for curbs on Iran's nuclear program.

But many large European firms are leaving Iran for fear of USA penalties.

Mr Trump warned that individuals or entities who breach the sanctions risk "severe consequences". European Union diplomats said they were awaiting details on Monday on how they will be implemented.

The official noted that Iran had already suffered severe economic difficulties since the United States abandoned the nuclear deal in May, with the rial losing nearly 80% of its value.

Hemmati told state TV late Sunday that "money exchangers are allowed to sell and buy foreign currencies" once again, to improve access to "services and travel overseas".

While that economic impact will fall most harshly on the Iranian people, one senior administration official was particularly adamant that the US does not deserve blame for any of their suffering: "The blame for the situation is perfectly clear, it lies with the Iranian regime that has systematically destroyed that lovely country over the last four decades".

A senior official at Iran's economy ministry said Tehran did not think the economic impact of the sanctions would be "massive".

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman described the renewed sanctions as "a courageous decision which will be remembered for generations".

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, for his part, offered a blunter assessment in a televised address Monday responding to the restored sanctions: "If you stab someone with a knife and then you say you want talks, then the first thing you have to do is remove the knife", he said, according to Reuters.

Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, pledged that his country "will overcome this period of hardship", dismissing the new round of sanctions as mainly psychological warfare.

There have been ongoing rumors that Trump and Rouhani could meet in NY in September at the UN General Assembly - though Rouhani reportedly rejected United States overtures for a meeting at last year's event.


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