TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday the Iranian nation has thwarted "unprecedented” U.S. economic pressures on the country to its knees.
"These unprecedented sanctions — which they themselves call maximum economic pressure — were meant to realize their dream of bringing us to our knees by the end of the current Persian calendar year (on March 21),” Rouhani told a group of disabled people here.
"Not only the U.S., which is a criminal and terrorist state, but also other states were assuming that” Iran would buckle under the sanction, but the Iranian nation thwarted the U.S. conspiracy by putting up resistance, he added.
"Despite all the heavy economic pressure and the unfair sanctions, the Iranian people preserved their dignity, overcame difficult situations and emerged victorious by exercising resistance and enduring hardships. They also showed that, through resistance, they would not allow the enemy to obtain its objectives.”
Faced with the Iranian nation’s firm resistance, Rouhani said, the enemies are now even seeking dialog and "sending us private offers talks.”
"Messages and requests for negotiations that they send us privately are contrary to their rhetoric in public,” he said, noting that even "the European states that are mediators, are aware of that.”
On Tuesday, Kyodo news agency reported said Iran had sounded out Japan about President Rouhani visiting the country.
Abbas Araqchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister for political affairs, serving as a special envoy of the president, relayed the message to Japan during his two-day visit to Tokyo from Monday, according to a source close to bilateral relations.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Iran in June, becoming the first Japanese leader to do so since 1978.
Rouhani has welcomed Japan’s efforts to ease tensions in the Middle East amid an ongoing standoff with the United States over the 2015 nuclear deal, the deputy foreign minister said Tuesday during a meeting with Abe, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
Following the U.S.’s withdrawal from the deal, Iran has gradually stepped away from commitments under the landmark agreement with major world powers.
In a separate meeting with Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, Araqchi said the current situation in the Middle East and around the Persian Gulf is "more serious than ever before.”
"Tensions continue to run high. That is why discussions and cooperation between Japan and Iran is becoming more and more important,” he said.
Japan, which is a key U.S. security ally but also maintains friendly relations with Iran, has sought to play a mediating role, with Abe traveling to Tehran in a bid to broker dialogue.
Araqchi hailed the trip as a "turning point” in bilateral relations.
Japan has opted not to participate in a U.S.-led mission to patrol waters near the Strait of Hormuz off the Iranian coast. Instead, it plans to send a Maritime Self-Defense Force ship and a patrol plane to the region for "research” purposes.
Mideast Security Rouhani separately urged all neighboring states to stand shoulder to shoulder against foreign interference in regional affairs and work collectively to safeguard the region and its strategic waters.
"Through the expansion of cooperation, we should establish security in the region, particularly in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, and should not allow foreigners to interfere,” Rouhani said in a meeting with visiting Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi.
He added that Iran has unveiled an initiative for regional security — known as Hormuz Peace Endeavor (HOPE) — with the purpose of boosting regional security.
Rouhani said Iran sees no problem in expanding ties with its neighbors and resuming diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, adding all countries should stand together in order to ensure security and stability in the region.
Rouhani hailed Tehran’s cordial relations with Muscat in different fields and said the Islamic Republic "attaches special significance to the expansion of ties and cooperation with its neighbors, particularly with Oman.”
The president said the Saudi war on Yemen has had no achievement but destruction, massacre of people, hatred and grudge between the two countries’ nations and threats to Yemen’s territorial integrity.
"Despite their superficial claims, Europe and the U.S. are unfortunately not interested in the restoration of peace to Yemen because they have been able to sell huge amounts of arms,” Rouhani added.
"We should all make efforts to end the war in Yemen as soon as possible and bring stability and security to this country in the framework of Yemen-Yemeni peace talks.”
Rouhani also called for humanitarian aid delivery to the Yemeni people and expressed hope that efforts by Iran and Oman would lead to the establishment of peace, stability and security in the region and the enhancement of friendship and brotherhood among nations.
Iran believes that regional countries should work together to solve the existing problems, he said.
"The policies of the Saudi government in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon have brought no gains for them and we hope that this country’s officials will change their path of politics.”
Alawi noted that Tehran and Muscat have identical stances on many regional and international issues, adding that Iran’s Hormuz Peace Endeavor would definitely be beneficial to all countries and help develop stability and security in the region.
Alawi arrived in Tehran on Monday on his third trip to the country over the past nine months. Prior to his talks with Rouhani, he met with his Iranian counterpart Muhammad Javad Zarif, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani and Parliament speaker Ali Larijani.