President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday Iran will continue down the path of development at home regardless of any sanctions against the country, saying Tehran seeks “constructive” and “win-win” relations with the world.
Addressing senior oil officials in Tehran, Rouhani stressed his government has from the start sought “proper, constructive, effective and win-win interaction with the world.” That appeared to be a nod to Europe, which has struck a series of business deals with Iran since a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran was signed.
He further warned that the country could face “some problems” ahead of US President Donald Trump’s decision on whether to pull out of the nuclear accord, but noted that those problems would be temporary.
“There may be exceptional circumstances and a special person rises to power. This is not something new but we will pass through this,” Rouhani said, adding: “It is possible that we will face some problems for two or three months, but we will surely leave them behind in the shortest time.”
“We are prepared for all scenarios. If America pulls out of the deal, our economy will not be impacted,” Iran’s Central Bank chief Valiollah Seif said on national television.
The nuclear agreement was signed between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the US, the UK, France, Russia, and China – plus Germany. It removed the sanctions in exchange for Tehran’s limiting its nuclear energy program in certain aspects.
Trump has been threatening to pull out of the accord since his inauguration last January, including by warning he would “tear up” the deal.
“Whether we are subjected to sanctions or not, we should move in such a direction that helps us stand on our own feet. This is a necessity,” Rouhani stressed.
Other signatories to the deal, as well as the UN and the European Union, which moderated the talks in the lead-up to the agreement, have warned Washington against trying to sabotage it. They call it a pillar of regional and international peace and stability, and a multilateral pact, which cannot be simply terminated by a single party.
Rouhani also said the country will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the victory of its 1979 Islamic Revolution this year in “a more resplendent” manner.
“Apparently, it is difficult for some to bear the fact that the Iranian nation will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the victory of its revolution this year,” he noted.
“By God’s grace, the people of Iran will continue down the path of independence, liberty, adherence to Islam and the Republic government system, and democracy for years and centuries to come. This is the path that the people have chosen,” he asserted.
European leaders have warned that a US withdrawal would undo years of work that led to and sustained the landmark deal known as the JCPOA.
Speaking on RTL radio on Tuesday, France’s Defense Minister Florence Parly said Iran has respected the nuclear agreement.
“The 2015 Vienna agreement is not perfect but allowed the suspension of the Iranian nuclear power program and weakening it would be a factor of aggravation in a very eruptive region,” Parly said.
“We can see that any escalation… that could lead Iran not to respect the deal that was signed, including by the United States, would only aggravate what is already a very tense situation,” Parly said.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Monday that France, Germany and the UK – the three European signatories to the Iran deal -- were committed to maintaining it regardless of Trump’s decision.
In the past few weeks, the Republican president has consulted either in person or by telephone with leaders of all three countries.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson made the rounds in Washington on Monday, including talks with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Still, European diplomats privately said they expected Trump to withdraw from the agreement.
Trump has until Saturday to decide whether to extend the waivers or withdraw and reintroduce sanctions related to Iran’s Central Bank and Iranian oil exports.
Iran has said it will not renegotiate the accord and threatened to retaliate if the United States pulls out.
Rouhani suggested on Monday that Iran might remain in the nuclear deal even if Trump abandons it and imposes sanctions. But he also warned that Tehran would fiercely resist US efforts to limit its influence in the Middle East.
The Kremlin said on Tuesday the withdrawal of the United States from the Iran nuclear deal would have harmful consequences.
There would be “inevitable harmful consequences to any actions towards breaking these agreements,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
AP, Reuters and Press TV contributed to this story.