TEHRAN (Dispatches) – President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday the Iranian nation has successfully withstood against U.S. sanctions, saying the country will resist more firmly if it comes under more pressure.
"If the enemies seek to keep up their pressure and make us surrender us, we will stand against the pressure,” he said in a televised speech.
In an address to a large group of people in the North Khorasan province, Rouhani said some people in the White House falsely claim that Iran’s economy is on the verge of collapse under the U.S. sanctions.
"It is a lie that the Iranian nation has deviated from the path of progress due to the U.S. sanctions,” he said.
In reaction to U.S. sanctions, which have notably targeted Iran's main foreign revenue stream in the shape of crude oil exports, Tehran announced in May that it would scale back its commitments to the deal.
Brushing aside a warning by European parties to the pact to continue its full compliance, Tehran has amassed more low-enriched uranium than permitted and has started to enrich uranium above the 3.67% permitted under the agreement in response to the failures of the other signatories.
Rouhani said Iran has stood firm against the U.S. sanctions. "Today anyone claiming that the Iranian nation's will and determination has weakened in light of these pressures has made an inappropriate statement and told a lie."
"For 14 months, the biggest economic and military power in the world has imposed the toughest sanctions on the people of Iran … But the resistant people of Iran have stood firm in these 14 months, and every route the Americans have taken has led to defeat,” he said.
According to Rouhani, "two years ago, we had about $12.4bn in foreign debts but the figure has decreased to $9.5bn this year. This means about 25 percent reduction in our foreign debts.”
President Rouhani congratulated the Iranian nation on "this victory” and said it shows that despite the pressures, Iran has not sought help from foreigners and international funds.
"Despite pressures, we have managed to remain independent and pay back some parts of our foreign debts,” he said.
Tension has heightened between the longtime foes since U.S. President Donald Trump last year withdrew from the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers and reimposed sanctions on Tehran that had been lifted under the pact.
Rouhani said Iran is ready to hold talks with the United States if Washington lifts sanctions and returns to the 2015 nuclear deal it exited last year.
"We have always believed in talks ... if they lift sanctions, end the imposed economic pressure and return to the deal, we are ready to hold talks with America today, right now and anywhere," he said.
The president also said Iran’s current unemployment is at 10.8%, down from 12.1% last year.
Some 321,000 jobs were created in the 12 months to spring 2019, Rouhani said in the speech to crowds in the northeastern city of Shrivan.