Rouhani: US sanctions are 'economic war'

Iranian President describes US sanctions imposed on Iran as an economic war.

Elad Benari,

Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday described US sanctions imposed on Iran as an economic war being waged on his country, stressing that "economic war is more difficult than military war."

Rouhani, who was quoted by The Associated Press, spoke as he inaugurated the third and final phase of the sprawling Persian Gulf Star refinery built in the Persian Gulf port city of Bandar Abbas. Construction of the refinery began in 2006 and it now has the capacity of 400,000 barrels a day, which amounts to about 20 percent of Iran's 2.1 million barrels of daily refining capacity.

Rouhani praised the inauguration, saying in a televised speech that it comes despite America's "imposing the harshest sanctions" on Iran.

"We have inaugurated huge national projects in this situation," Rouhani said, according to AP, adding that this comes despite efforts by the US, Israel and their allies to increase pressures on Iran.

US President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal last May and reimposed the sanctions that were frozen as part of the deal, causing Iran to feel the pressure.

Rouhani has changed his tone regarding the sanctions. He initially insisted that the new US sanctions have had no effect on Iran’s economy because Washington had already practically reimposed them earlier.

In December, however, Rouhani said US sanctions against his country amounted to "economic terrorism".

The Iranian president has vowed that the US will not succeed in bringing Iran to its knees with the sanctions.