Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Iran faces “difficult conditions” with Donald Trump’s sanctions which were worse than those endured during its war with Iraq in the 1980s.
Meanwhile, the US sanctions on oil and gas exports were destabilising the wider region, a spokesman for Turkey’s ruling AK party said.
Rouhani’s website reported that he said: “We face difficult conditions, but at the same time, I am not hopeless…and I believe we can get through this tough situation if we stick together and lend a helping hand to each other.”
Compared to the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, Rouhani said, “Today it is not possible to say if conditions are better or worse than during the imposed war but at the time we did not have problems with banking, selling oil, imports and exports and our only problem was a weapons sanction.”
Donald Trump’s sanctions imposed in stages from a year ago have blocked Iranian oil exports, foreign investment and reduced trade.
Rouhani asked advisers to put their ideas together to find the least costly ways out of the crisis. The moderate president said: “Surrendering is not compatible with our religion and culture and people will not accept. Therefore, we should not surrender. Instead, we should find solutions and it is important to consider to what degree solutions” are available to Tehran.
Rouhani referred to his limited powers within Iran’s clerical government.
“As an example, if questions are asked from the government about foreign policy, cultural issues or cyberspace policy, we should consider what authority the government has in these areas.”
The president has limited powers in the Islamic republic.
Military issues, foreign policy, cultural and social restrictions, broadcasting, judicial and some major economic policies are dominated by the supreme leader.
The dominance of religious figures has long frustrated Iran’s reformist and moderate politicians.
Turkey has been told by the Trump administration that it must stop buying its neighbour’s oil this month and Ankara has complained about the difficulties of finding an alternative supplier.
“We state that such sanctions are only punishing people and that it is not possible to reach the goals written in any way,” said government spokesman Ömer Çelik in Ankara.
“We once again clearly state that we are against these sanctions and that these sanctions will not yield the right results,” he told the media at the AK party headquarters.
Qom. Clerics dominate many areas of Iranian policy. Picture credit: Wikimedia