Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that the government would file a legal case in Iran against US officials who imposed sanctions on the country as a precursor to action in international courts.
Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on national television that he had ordered the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice “to file a legal case in Iranian courts against those in America who designed and imposed sanctions on Iran… These sanctions are crimes against humanity.”
The United States reimposed sanctions on Iran after President Donald Trump chose last May to abandon the 2015 nuclear accord, negotiated with five other world powers.
The sanctions target Iran’s energy, shipping and financial sectors among other areas.
Rouhani said Washington thought that abandoning the nuclear deal would prompt Tehran to also abandon the agreement and that it could eventually have all UN sanctions removed under the deal to be reinstated.
“We spoiled their plan; they didn’t expect us to act like this,” he said.
The US, Rouhani said, expected Europe to follow its lead in quitting the nuclear deal but, except for a few countries, the world stood in solidarity with Iran.
“Let the world know that what America has done is not against Iran or nuclear technology; rather, it is against the well-being, environment, food, medicine and the lives of the Iranian people,” he said.
Rouhani said US sanctions had created difficulties including a weaker currency, the rial, which has created higher inflation.
If the Iranian court rules against US officials, Iran would pursue the case in international courts of justice, the president said.
Iran’s litigations against the US have already succeeded in international tribunals. In October, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered the US to exempt exports of humanitarian and civil aviation supplies to Iran.
“We were able to win in both the International Court of Justice in The Hague and the European courts, which means that we were able to legally defeat America and, of course, this trend should continue,” Rouhani said.
He said the enemies will never succeed in their attempts to weaken the Iranian nation despite having tried everything in their power over the past 40 years.
The Iranian people, Rouhani said, have long resisted outside pressure and will keep up the fight until the enemy is defeated.
“The enemy made some attempts but never achieved what it desired even when, at times, the pressure was too much,” the president said.
The US plan, Rouhani said, was to “dominate” the Iranian nation, something Washington will never achieve.
“The Americans have only one goal: They wish to come back to Iran and rule the nation again,” Rouhani said, reiterating Iran’s view that US sanctions are aimed at overthrowing the establishment and ushering in one more aligned with US policies.
He urged Iranians to put a curse on the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia, blaming them for the economic hardship.
“Curse all those who created the current situation: The United States, the Zionists and the region’s reactionary regimes who joined forces to bring the Iranian nation to its knees and take their 40-year revenge” on Iran.
Rouhani said the government had managed to “put a brake on the fall of the rial,” but that balance is not yet apparent in the foreign currency market.
On Sunday, the same day he inaugurated new phases in the development of Iran’s massive natural gas field, Rouhani said Iran’s inflation is “above 20 percent” and that this country of 80 million people has over three million unemployed.
He promised to increase wages in both the government and the private sector, and raise pensions.
The rial was trading at 131,500 per US dollar on Monday on the unofficial market, about three times weaker than a year ago, but off record lows, around 190,000, hit in late September.
Governor of the Central Bank of Iran Abdolnaser Hemmati also slammed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other US officials on Monday for waging a “psychological war” to stir panic in the currency market.
Hemmati said that “the Central Bank is in full control of the market.”
US sanctions permit partial trade in humanitarian goods such as food and pharmaceuticals but measures imposed on banks, and trade restrictions, could make such items more expensive and more difficult to pay for.
Trump said when he pulled out of the landmark 2015 deal that lifted international sanctions against Iran in exchange for restrictions on its atomic activities, it failed to rein in Iran’s missile program or curb its regional activities.
Reuters, AP and Press TV contributed to this report.