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Tuesday 16 July 2019

Iran not seeking war against any nation, says president

Hassan Rouhani said ‘the entire Iranian nation is unanimous in confronting’ US pressures.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a ceremony at Imam Khomeini International Airport (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a ceremony at Imam Khomeini International Airport (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

By Nasser Karimi, Associated Press

Iran is not seeking to wage war against any nation, the country’s president has said while at the same time stressing that Iranians will withstand mounting US pressure and emerge victorious.

The remarks by President Hassan Rouhani came after Iran announced it was breaking compliance with the nuclear deal with world powers and the Trump administration ordered 1,000 more troops to the Middle East.

“We do not wage war with any nation,” Mr Rouhani said, speaking during the inauguration of a new terminal at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport that will raise its capacity from eight million to 13 million passengers a year.

“The entire Iranian nation is unanimous in confronting” US pressures, Mr Rouhani said.

“The end of this battle will see victory of the Iranian nation.”

He added that despite the US withdrawal last year from Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, Iran had remained “loyal to its commitments, to … international agreements”.

But on Monday, Iran’s nuclear agency announced it will surpass the uranium stockpile limits set by its 2015 nuclear deal in the next 10 days, raising pressure on Europeans trying to save the accord a year after the US withdrawal.

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The heavy water nuclear facility near Arak, 150 miles south west of Iran, in 2011 (Hamid Foroutan/ISNA via AP)

Hours later, the Pentagon announced it was sending about 1,000 additional American troops to the Middle East to bolster security in the region in the face of what US officials said was a growing threat from Iran.

The announcement by Iran’s nuclear agency marked yet another deadline set by Tehran.

Mr Rouhani has already warned Europe that a new deal needs to be in place by July 7 or the Islamic Republic would increase its enrichment of uranium.

The developments indicate Iran has begun its own maximum pressure campaign after facing one from President Donald Trump that deeply cut into its sale of crude oil abroad and sent its economy into freefall.

Europe has so far been unable to offer Iran a way around the US sanctions.

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(PA Graphics)

The escalation follows apparent attacks last week near the Strait of Hormuz on oil tankers, assaults that Washington has blamed on Iran.

While Iran has denied being involved, it laid mines in the 1980s targeting oil tankers around the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a fifth of the world’s crude oil passes.

PA Media

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