As US sanctions resume, Rouhani vows to keep selling oil

Minnie Murray
November 6, 2018

United States president Trump has taken a hardline against Iran since taking office.

Before travelling to a campaign rally for the U.S. midterm elections, President Trump said Iran was already struggling under his administration's policies.

The measures described by Washington as "the toughest sanctions ever" follow US President Donald Trump's controversial decision in May to abandon the multi-nation nuclear deal with Teheran.

Diplomats told Reuters last month that a new European Union mechanism to facilitate payments for Iranian oil exports should be legally in place by November 4 but not operational until early next year.

"U.S. sanctions on Iran proved to be less severe than previously anticipated", said Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at futures brokerage FXTM. "We continue to believe that the Iran nuclear deal makes the world a safer place and our position remains that as long as Iran continues to meet its obligations under the deal by respecting strict limits on its nuclear activity, we will be committed to it too", Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman said.

Ambassador Khoshroo said: "The irresponsible conduct of the United States necessitates a collective response by the global community in order to uphold the rule of law, to prevent undermining diplomacy and to protect multilateralism".

"What the Americans are doing today is putting pressure merely on the people", he said, according to a transcript of the remarks posted on the president's website.

Senior US official Brian Hook was quoted by media as saying that settlements with Iran would be carried out through "credits" and not hard currency, and that the same credits could be used to settle financial matters over exports of goods to Iran.

Rohani also vowed that Iran will "proudly bypass" US sanctions to sell oil.

Hua urged all sides to keep in mind "long-term interests, fulfill their obligations and responsibilities and choose to stand on the right side of history".

The exemptions were granted with the understanding that the countries will seek to reduce their imports to zero.

Iranian Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo said in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that the "irresponsible conduct of the United States necessitates a collective response to uphold the rule of law".

Israel's Foreign Ministry declined to comment.

On Sunday, thousands of Iranians chanting "Death to America" rallied, rejecting calls for talks.

Many analysts believe that the storming of the United States embassy on November 4, 40 years ago, was the main factor in igniting the crisis between Washington and Tehran, a crisis that lasted four decades ago, which benefited Iran's hardliners who are supported by the Supreme Leader in Iran to continue the rule and the division of Iranian society.

During those six months, the importing country can buy Iranian oil but must deposit Iran's revenue in an escrow account.

The other remaining signatories to the nuclear deal - Russia, China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the European Union - have condemned the USA decision, stressing that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirms Iran's full compliance with the accord.

The US says the sanctions are not aimed at toppling the government, but at persuading it to radically change its policies, including its support for regional militant groups and its development of long-range ballistic missiles.

He claimed the sanctions would backfire and work against the United States and that "many countries from Europe to Russian Federation and China have opposed the sanctions".

But rancour is especially strong this time following Trump's decision in May to withdraw from world powers' 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose sanctions on Tehran. The legislation also implies that European courts could nullify USA decisions regarding sanctions.

Fortunately today, the USA is more isolated than ever following its withdrawal from the JCPOA, said Rouhani, adding "almost all countries in the world except for a few are standing with us against the United States, and that is the victory of our diplomacy".

The move has raised tensions in the Middle East as America's maximalist approach to the Islamic Republic takes hold.

They were opposed by other signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal partly brokered by the Obama administration - Britain, France, Russia, China, Germany and the EU.

The International Monetary Fund forecasts that USA sanctions will cause Iran's economy to contract 1.5 per cent this year and 3.6 per cent next year - pain that Trump has boasted about as he touts his record ahead of Tuesday's congressional elections. Its national currency, the rial, has plummeted over the a year ago, sending prices for everything from mobile phones to medicine skyrocketing.

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