TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- President Hassan Rouhani said here on Wednesday resistance is the only option left for Iran against those who have brought it under sanctions.
"We have no choice other than resistance and steadfastness in the face of those who impose sanctions, but have not shut the door to negotiation either,” Rouhani said.
"We believe that wrongful and oppressive sanctions should be lifted first, and then the issue of negotiation can be addressed,” he added.
Rouhani said Iran is ready to hold talks within the framework of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as soon as the U.S. lifts the sanctions it reimposed on Iran after leaving the nuclear deal last year.
"We see no problem in that,” he noted.
Rouhani said the nuclear talks that preceded the JCPOA resulted in the recognition of Iran’s right to nuclear enrichment activity within its own borders, an entitlement that had previously been banned under United Nations resolutions.
"No one believed we would be able to secure this issue during negotiations with the world’s big powers,” the president stated.
The president also commented on the Israeli and Saudi regimes’ attempts to disrupt the diplomatic process before and after the deal was hammered out.
As the negotiations were underway in the lead-up to the deal, the regimes in Occupied Palestine and Saudi Arabia convinced the U.S. to cause a delay in the talks, during which Iran could be presumably pressured into agreeing to Washington’s demands.
In order to pile up pressure, the Saudi regime brought about a drastic reduction in crude prices in order to try and tighten the screws on the Islamic Republic.
Tehran, however, withstood the pressure and even managed to reduce its inflation rate, Rouhani said, adding that had it not been for the destructive push, the agreement would have come about in 2014.
After the deal was struck, Tel Aviv and Riyadh still acted as the principal elements trying to influence Washington into leaving the JCPOA and reinstating the sanctions, the president said.
"Once again the Zionist, Saudi, and American radicals managed to fool Trump by telling him that (if he left the deal), he would become the first U.S. president to be able to say, ‘I broke Iran down,’” Rouhani said.
Rouhani also called for the release of any unarmed and innocent people detained during the recent protests against gasoline price hikes.
The unrest began on Nov. 15 after the government abruptly raised fuel prices by as much as 300%.
"Religious and Islamic clemency should be shown and those innocent people who protested against petrol price hikes and were not armed ... should be released,” Rouhani said.
The Intelligence Ministry said last week that at least eight people linked to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had been arrested during the unrest.
Ordinary Iranians have been badly hit since last year when U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the JCPOA and reimposed sanctions that have further crippled Iran’s oil-based economy.
Iran has reacted to Washington’s "maximum pressure” campaign by scaling back its commitments to limits on its enrichment of uranium and warned of further distancing from the nuclear pact if Europe fails to shield Tehran’s economy from U.S. penalties.