"It is necessary for us to strengthen political relations, to expand bilateral, regional and international cooperation, to fight against terrorism together, and also to resist economic terrorism of the US, which has imposed sanctions both on our country and on Russia," Kazem Jalali said in an interview with Russia’s Sputnik news agency released on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran is not the only nation that has been targeted by economic woes caused as a result of the US pressure campaign, Presstv Reported.
Speaking at a cabinet session on Wednesday, Rouhani referred to his meetings with world leaders that took place on the sidelines of the Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019 last week and said, “In a four-way forum, participated by Iran, Malaysia, Turkey and Qatar, we realized that other countries are also experiencing difficulties in their interactions with the US.”
The problems currently facing the Iranian nation are more or less similar to those the other states are grappling with, he pointed out, stressing that all countries, including those that took part in the Kuala Lumpur Summit, blame the US for the pressure campaign on the Iranian nation.
Tensions have mounted between Tehran and Washington since May 2018 when US President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled his country out of the 2015 nuclear deal, signed between Iran and the P5+1 countries (the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany), in defiance of global criticism, and later re-imposed the sanctions that had been lifted against Tehran as part of the agreement.
Iran says the US has been engaged in “economic terrorism” against the Islamic Republic, saying the Iranian people from all walks of life are bearing the brunt of the punitive measures.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman earlier this month dismissed the latest claims by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that Washington's unilateral sanctions on Tehran are the alternative to military confrontation, saying sanctions are indeed a full-fledged war targeting civilians.
Abbas Mousavi took to his Twitter account on December 16 to respond to the US official’s remarks and said sanctions are "indeed the economic war and worse than that, the #EconomicTerrorism, which unfairly targets civilians especially children, the elderly & the sick."
One year later and in response to the US measures, Iran started reducing its commitments under the JCPOA.
Relations between the US and Russia are also in a downward spiral over a range of issues, including the Syria crisis, the Ukraine conflict as well as allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, which Moscow denies.
The US has slapped several rounds of sanctions on Russia, which has vowed countermeasures.
In the latest move to hit Russia’s economy, Trump signed legislation last week that that will impose sanctions on any firm that helps Russia's state-owned gas company, Gazprom, finish a pipeline into the European Union.
The sanctions target firms building Nord Stream 2, an undersea pipeline that will allow Russia to increase gas exports to Germany.
The Russian government has vowed to retaliate against the US sanctions on the pipeline.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that Moscow will take measures of “reciprocity” over the sanctions, which Russia considers unacceptable.
“How and when it will be done remains a question of Russia’s national interests,” Peskov told reporters, adding that the Kremlin still hopes to complete Nord Stream 2.
Iran, Russia may hold drills with ground forces
Elsewhere in his interview, the Iranian envoy said Iran and Russia may hold joint military exercises not only at sea but also on land in the future.
"The countries cooperate in different areas, so yes, there is such a possibility", Jalali said, when asked whether Iran and Russia could hold ground forces drills together.
Russia and Iran have already conducted joint maneuvers, he said, adding, "I am sure that both countries should continue close cooperation in this sphere, which allows preserving regional peace and stability, given the joint understanding of threats.”
Russia, Iran and China are set to hold a joint naval exercise, dubbed Marine Security Belt, in the Indian Ocean on Friday.
“The joint drills of Iran, Russia and China will be held as of Friday for four days in the northern Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman,” Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi, the spokesman for Iranian Armed Forces, said at a press conference on Wednesday.
He said the drills are of high significance as “the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman are among the world’s key trade routes and many countries commute in the [two] regions and therefore establishing security there is important and vital.”