Friday 20 September 2019

Iran will resist US economic war and continue oil exports, President Rouhani

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US sanctions on Iran are part of a psychological war launched by Washington against Tehran that will fail, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has claimed.

Rouhani also added that the Islamic republic will continue to export its crude oil.

"America blames us for its failures in the region ... from Yemen to Iraq ... We will not yield to this pressure that is part of the psychological war against Iran," Rouhani said in a speech in the city of Khoy, broadcast live on state TV.

"They have failed to stop our oil exports. We will keep exporting it."

Earlier, foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said Iran is still hopeful that its 2015 nuclear deal with major powers can be saved despite the withdrawal of the US.

"There are some ambiguities on implementation of the EU's mechanism to protect trade with Iran from America's sanctions ... But we remain hopeful that the Europeans can save the deal," Mr Qasemi told a news conference broadcast live on state TV.

Other signatories trying to salvage the deal since May, when US President Donald Trump abandoned it.

Washington restored sanctions targeting Iran's oil, banking and transportation sectors this month.

The European Union has been trying to establish a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for non-dollar trade with Iran to save the deal, under which most sanctions were lifted in 2016 in exchange for Tehran curbing its nuclear programme.

The SPV was conceived as a clearing house that could be used to help match Iranian oil and gas exports against purchases of EU goods, circumventing US sanctions based on the global use of the dollar for oil sales.

The EU has tried to have the SPV set up by this month, but no country has offered to host it, six diplomats told Reuters last week.

"We expect EU to implement the SPV as soon as possible," Qasemi said. "Iran adheres to its commitments as long as other signatories honour theirs."

Iran has threatened to exit the deal if its economic benefits are not preserved.

Mr Qasemi spoke as British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt visits the country.

Mr Hunt is due to  to discuss the war in Yemen during his trip, which will include talks with his counterpart, Mohammad Zarif.

Ahead of his visit Mr Hunt warned Iran against using innocent dual-national Britons as political prisoners.

The Foreign Secretary called on its hardline Islamic regime to release people including charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, currently jailed on what are widely regarded as trumped-up spying charges.

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