Iranian President: US sanctions have had no effect

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani downplays latest US sanctions, claims Washington had already practically reimposed them earlier.

Elad Benari,

Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday played down the latest US sanctions imposed on his country, claiming they have had no effect on Iran’s economy because Washington had already practically reimposed them earlier.

“The sanctions have had no impact on our economy because America had already used all the weapons at its disposal and there was nothing new to use against us,” Rouhani said in remarks carried live on state television and quoted by Reuters.

“They just issued a long list of banks, their branches ... and airlines and their planes. And this shows that they are merely trying to affect the Iranian nation psychologically,” he insisted.

The sanctions reimposed on Iran this past week are the second round of measures the US has imposed on the Islamic Republic since President Donald Trump withdrew in May from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, which he has said is “the worst deal ever negotiated”.

The United States has said it would temporarily allow eight importers to keep buying Iranian oil when it reimposed the sanctions that are aimed at forcing Tehran to curb its nuclear, missile and regional activities.

“It has now become clear that America cannot cut Iran’s oil exports to zero,” Rouhani said on Saturday as he spoke after a weekly meeting with the heads of the parliament and the judiciary.

On Friday, US National Security Adviser John Bolton reiterated that more sanctions on Iran could be on the way.

Bolton said that the two rounds of US sanctions introduced by Trump had had a "quite significant" effect on the Iranian economy and the country's actions abroad.

"I think that you're going to see even more sanctions coming into play over time and much tighter enforcement of the sanctions," he told reporters in Paris.

Iranian officials, as expected, have blasted the new sanctions. On Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif took to YouTube, posting a message in which he dismissed the new US sanctions and accused Washington of “hostility” against his country.

Last week, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei criticized the US sanctions.

"The world opposes any decision made by Trump. America's goal to reestablish its control failed, and America was defeated by the Islamic Republic among the 40-year-old," he said.