President urges unity in face of America’s ‘war on hope’
President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday Iran must counter US sanctions by continuing to export its oil as well as boosting non-oil exports.
"America is trying to decrease our foreign reserves ... So we have to increase our hard currency income and cut our currency expenditures," Rouhani said in a televised speech.
Last week, the US said it would stop waivers for countries buying Iranian oil – including China, India and Turkey – in an attempt to push Iran's oil exports to zero and cut its access to its main source of foreign currency revenue.
"Last year, we had non-oil exports of $43 billion. We should increase production and raise our (non-oil) exports and resist America's plots against the sale of our oil."
Rouhani has vowed that Iran will continue to supply oil to its major customers despite the unilateral measures adopted by the United States.
The president also hailed Iran’s growing independence in addressing its own economic needs, pointing that Iran used to once import key products such as wheat and diesel fuel, which it is now exporting.
Efforts by the administration of President Donald Trump to impose political and economic pressure on the Islamic Republic began with last year's US withdrawal from the nuclear deal it and other world powers negotiated with Iran in 2015.
Iran’s economy has been battered since sanctions returned. Inflation has shot up, the national currency has plummeted and imports are now vastly more expensive.
Rouhani said US sanctions are violating international law and compromising the rights of other states.
“When the Americans claim that they want to cut Iran’s oil sales to zero, it means that they are threatening the clients of Iran’s oil,” he said.
Rouhani said the US unilaterally left the nuclear deal with Iran and imposed sanctions on the country because it couldn’t tolerate an independent and sovereign Iran which is strong and influential in the region and on the international stage.
‘War on hope’
Rouhani further called for the nation to “resist and unite” against US pressure in what he called a “war on hope” waged against Iran.
“America will only let go of this game when it realizes it cannot achieve anything. We have no way but to resist and unite,” Rouhani said.
“Our war today is the war on hope. They want to break our hope, and we have to break their hope” of defeating Iran, said Rouhani.
“They want to cut our foreign currency supply… they seek to sow discord in the country. They want us to be divided, to stand against each other,” he added.
Reuters, AFP and Press TV contributed to this story.