‘We will proudly break sanctions’ – Iran defies the US


‘WE WILL proudly break the sanctions,’ Iranian leader President Hassan Rouhani said defiantly at a meeting of economic officials yesterday, describing the new wave of sanctions imposed by the US as ‘a declaration of economic war’.

Rouhani insisted that Iran will ‘continue selling oil’ and vowed to break the sanctions re-imposed by the US targeting core parts of the economy. The Trump administration is restoring all sanctions lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal in a bid to try and create internal conditions that America could utilise to carry out its declared policy of regime change. They will hit oil exports, shipping and banks.

Rouhani added: ‘We should break the sanctions very well, and we will do that. ‘With the help of the people, and the unity that exists in our society, we have to make the Americans understand that they must not use the language of force, pressure, and threats to speak to the great Iranian nation. They must be punished once and for all.’

United States Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said yesterday: ‘Since the Trump administration came into office we have done 19 rounds of sanctions, targeting 168 Iranian entities. Today’s sanctions will accelerate the rapid decline of international economic activity in Iran, since the implementation of our strategy in May.

‘Since back in May, over 100 companies have withdrawn from Iran or cancelled plans to do business there. ‘It should be noted,’ he threatened, ‘if a company evades our sanctions regime and secretly continues commerce in the Islamic Republic the United States will levy severe, swift levies on it including sanctions.’

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Iran would be open to talks with the United States about a new nuclear agreement but only if the US changes its approach. Zarif made the remarks in a wide-ranging exclusive interview over the weekend with USA TODAY.

He emphasised that the current US ‘administration does not believe in diplomacy. It believes in imposition.’ The US mid-term elections take place today – with millions of Americans voting for who they want to see in Congress. The 2014 elections gave the Republicans control of the Senate and control of both houses of Congress.

With 248 seats in the House of Representatives and 54 seats in the Senate, this Congress began with the largest Republican majority since 1931. The people of the US will vote for members of both chambers of Congress, as well as for governors in 36 out of 50 states. The first polls will close at 11pm GMT today (that’s 6pm on the east coast of the US).